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EPA Board considers proposal for Copping Waste Treatment Facility

The EPA Board has concluded its assessment of the proposed construction and operation of a waste treatment facility by Southern Waste Solutions at the Copping landfill site.

Under the proposal, the facility would treat up to 12,000 tonnes of contaminated soils and sludges per annum.

The Chair of the EPA Board John Ramsay says the Board has determined that the proposed facility could be developed and managed in an environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner, with certain conditions.

"Southern Waste Solutions submitted a proposal to build and operate a waste treatment facility to be located at the Copping landfill off the Arthur Highway approximately four kilometres south west of Copping," Mr. Ramsay said.

Mr. Ramsay said the EPA Board gave consideration to various environmental issues, particularly waste handling and leachate management.

"All contaminated wastes must only be transported EPA registered operators. These operators must abide by all the conditions of their registration."

"The treatments would predominantly involve mixing metal contaminated soils and sludges with reagents to bind the metals to prevent leaching of the metals when placed in a landfill."

"Also under the proposal, hydrocarbon contaminated soils (typically sourced from service stations) would be treated using a composting process."

"These types of treatments are commonly used throughout Australia," Mr. Ramsay said.

"The treatment will occur in a large shed on a concrete slab to allow for effective management of treatment processes and to allow for effective leachate and dust management. A purpose built facility such as this generally offers a more secure environment for treatment than onsite treatment at the locations where the waste is generated."

"Prior to disposal of any treated material, chemical analyses must be undertaken and approval from the Director, EPA must be obtained. This would only be provided if disposal criteria are met."

Mr Ramsay said 83 representations were received in relation to the permit application, which was submitted in November 2013.

"Concerns expressed by public representations included air emissions and discharge of liquids to surface and groundwaters," Mr. Ramsay said.

"Conducting the treatment within a building on a concrete slab significantly reduces the potential for leachate impacts on surface and groundwater."

"In addition, the proponent is required to install a leachate management system which will further reduce the risk to surface and groundwater."

"Conditions have also been imposed to require that material or leachate does not escape the site and risk contamination of surface or groundwater."

The proponent is also required to manage the wastes so that dust does not cause an impact.

The proposal was considered by the Board in the context of the sustainable development objectives of the Resource Management and Planning System of Tasmania (RMPS), and in the context of the objectives of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control System(EMPCS) established by the EMPC Act.

The functions of the Board are to administer and enforce the provisions of the Act, and in particular to use its best endeavours to protect the environment of Tasmania, and to further the RMPS and EMPCS objectives.

The Board undertook the assessment of the proposal in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Principles defined in Section 74 of the EMPC Act.

The EPA Board’s environmental assessment, including the environmental conditions that must be included in any permit, have been forwarded to the Sorell Council.

The decision by the EPA Board can be viewed on the Assessment​ page.