THE worked-out Pioneer quarry in Dromana could be used as a waste “bulk haul station” for consolidation of rubbish before it is transported in larger trucks to tips in Hampton Park or Werribee.
This is despite Mornington Peninsula Shire’s new Waste and Resource Recovery draft report nominating a site in Dromana’s industrial estate for such a facility.
In manoeuvring highly reminiscent of that in a 2009 shire waste management report, the focus of the latest document is on expanding the shire tip, or landfill, at Rye, but with alternative waste technology (AWT) as the preferred acoption. The shire uses the acronym AWT to describe both waste “technology” and waste “treatment”.
Expanding Rye was also the theme of the 2009 report, with the Pioneer quarry option mentioned discreetly. No provision was made in the subsequent shire budget to expand Rye, leading to speculation that the shire had assumed the quarry would get the green light.
The Environment Protection Authority refused use of the quarry as a tip in September 2013.
Then, rather than falling back on the Rye option, the latest waste study was launched, arriving at the same conclusion – expand Rye.
This study, dated April 2015, describes as “AWT” the shire practices of composting; sorting of recyclables; and waste separation.
In the United States, Europe and many other places, high-temperature incinerators are regarded as modern alternative “technology”. These are not likely to be available to the shire for years, if not decades, and would probably be a state government initiative.
The latest report does not detail incinerators as a possibility. It states, however, the shire will support alternatives to landfill, “including an increase in the landfill levy”, currently $58.50 a tonne, collected from users of shire waste disposal facilities.
Expansion of the Rye landfill, predicted to be full by the end of 2017, was vigorously opposed by Rye residents at a public meeting last Tuesday.
The preferred option, the report states, is for “further development of the western portion” of Rye, followed by other expansion. Full development at Rye would expand the life of the site by 24 years, to 2041, the report states.
The second option is to move waste off the peninsula via a “bulk haul” facility, located at Rye, Mornington, Tyabb or “centrally located (Dromana)”.
The report notes that “options 1 to 3 have a limited life, after which the Dromana option will be required.
The report clearly favours the fourth option.
No location in Dromana was given in the main report but Brasser Ave in the town’s industrial estate was listed in an earlier report, Business case: Options for the disposal of landfill waste in the short to medium term, released in February 2015.
At the Tuesday meeting it was suggested the shire depot in Brasser Ave could be used. This would almost certainly lead to spirited opposition from nearby residents and others.
The depot’s location so close to homes could rule it out, leaving the quarry as the fallback Dromana bulk haul site, much as the quarry was the “real” site in 2009.
A suggestion that the landfill at Hampton Park would be the logical place to take peninsula waste drew a response from meeting chair Cr David Gibb – who has been involved in shire waste management for many years – that Hampton Park would be full in 13 years. A council officer said its expected life was 15-20 years.
The News has been told the Hampton Park landfill could expand into an adjacent quarry that would take waste for many more years but a Suez Environnement spokeswoman said the company had “no current plan to purchase adjoining property”.
(The landfill in Hallam Rd, Hampton Park, was operated for years by SITA Australia. In March, SITA Australia, Degrémont, and Process Group came under the parent company’s name, Suez Environnement.)
The shire stated in its 2009 report that the peninsula’s waste would need to be trucked to Werribee, 130 kilometres away. The report did not mention the Hampton Park landfill.
The Pioneer quarry is owned by the Ross Trust, operator of Hillview Quarries. Having lost its bid for a tip in the quarry, it has been negotiating with the shire for a new use for the site. It is believed high-level talks with the shire have been occurring for some time.
Under the terms of its permit to extract stone, the trust must rehabilitate the disused quarry, which is infested with weed species that have escaped into adjacent Arthurs Seat State Park. The cost of cleaning up the site could run into millions of dollars.