‘Killara stink is not our problem’

NORTH East Water has said it’s not directly involved in the Killara stink, saying it leased the land to a composting plant at the behest of Wodonga Council and that the EPA has the matter in hand.

Greenchip Recycling leases the land from the water authority.

It was recently fined by the EPA for offences relating to smell and has been issued with orders to clean up its operations.

Wodonga Council, too, is looking at its options around the Greenchip Recycling’s planning permit, on Monday night choosing to discuss the matter behind closed doors rather than publicly.

A water balance, prepared by the company, estimates that 11 megalitres of liquid waste is “unaccounted for” at the site.

Residents fear the liquid waste, equivalent of eight of the old Stanley Street pools, is polluting their groundwater.

North East Water’s managing director Craig Heiner yesterday said there was no evidence of polluted waterways.

“North East Water is confident the EPA is dealing with the concerns and is confident that Greenchip is responding to any concerns raised by the EPA,” he said.

“We are not aware of any evidence of polluting waterways, and trust that the EPA, as the environment regulator, is closely monitoring this matter.”

Mr Heiner also dismissed the clash in the organisations stated environmental commitment with the recent issues around its lessee.

Among several points on its website, the water authority says it needs to demonstrate respons ible land stewardship for the lands they own and occupy and advocate and demonstrate greater environmental awareness.

“The original decision for North East Water to host a regional composting facility was at the encouragement of the City of Wodonga, in recognition of the major environmental benefits of processing waste materials for reuse rather than unnecessarily putting these materials to landfill,” he said.

“Managing any environmental risks associated with the facility is ongoing.

“North East Water, Greenchip and the EPA are in an ongoing discussion about the operation of the composting facility to ensure its appropriate operation.”

Mr Heiner said the lease was a commercial arrangement and could not be discussed publicly.