Greater Hume to use loose-fill asbestos revenue to license Culcairn landfill

Greater Hume Council will use revenue generated through accepting loose-fill asbestos waste to transition the Culcairn Landfill into operating under an environmental protection license.

The asbestos in 37 buildings earmarked for demolition across the Shire will be packaged and sent to Culcairn, and the leftovers of the structures taken to Holbrook.

However, both sites are unlicensed under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 and can only receive up to 5000 tonnes of waste each annually.

Due to this, a memorandum of understanding was prepared, with council to abide by waste conditions in exchange for $18,000 per dwelling.

That MOU was endorsed at the Wednesday council meeting.

Environment and Planning director Colin Kane proposed council use that money to start preparing a license for Culcairn landfill, taking into account both the possibility of the program’s waste exceeding 5000 tonnes and population growth.

“(The EPA) made me aware of new solid waste guidelines … I did a bit of investigation with neighbouring councils about the cost of compliance,” he said.

As a licensed facility, changes including a new waste cell, leachate collection dam and weighbridge would need to be made at Culcairn, totalling $650,000.

Councillor Kim Stewart questioned the cost effectiveness of the transition, as the cell would last six years. “We get a whole lot of money and spend it, and it only benefits us for six years – but we have this $4000 or $5000 ongoing licensing fee for eternity,” she said.

Mr Kane said “increased regulation was coming” and it would be more beneficial to get a head-start, utilising revenue from the asbestos program.

“If this opportunity to make this revenue didn’t occur, and the environmental legislation changed overnight, this would be quite a large impost on ratepayers straight away,” he said.

“We get this money in … and transition into building these cells.”

Mr Kane will work with the EPA to determine when council should proceed with its application for the license.