Quarry landfill plans meet local opposition

Boral Waste Solutions has reportedly applied to extend the existing approved area for landfill at its Ravenhall quarry site to correspond with the already approved quarrying area. The company currently uses 133 hectares of its 1150-hectare site on Christies Rd for landfill and plans to expand landfill operations by 562 hectares. 
Boral business manager Richard McCarthy said there had been a lot of misinformation in the community about how the landfill operated that he wanted to clear up.
?How it works is that when we dig out rock from the quarry it creates a series of holes,? he explained. ?The most practical way to fill these in is with landfill. So the active six hectare landfill cell follows the quarry activity as it moves around the site.?
McCarthy added that said each landfill area took at least 18 months to fill, and it was then covered with soil and rehabilitated to create grassland areas that matched the surrounding landscape.
With Victoria expected to need space for around four million tonnes of waste each year by 2036, McCarthy said landfills were a critical necessity.
?Most of the waste brought here comes from western and northern Melbourne residents and industry through contractors and council kerbside collection,? Mr McCarthy said. 
?Of 23 landfills in Melbourne today, 14 are forecast to shut within the next decade, and in 15 years only five listed now will still be open.
?A recent economic report completed by SGS Economics and Planning shows that without our expansion, by 2036 Melbourne will be paying an extra $80 million annually to transport waste further away.?
Local landfill concerns
According to the Herald Sun, thousands of residents have united against plans to expand the Ravenhall quarry landfill area. The fight is also supported by local Labor, Liberal and Greens members of parliament, with a formal objection lodged by Brimbank Council.
The Herald Sun reported Sean McAlpine-Jones, one of the residents leading the ?Stop the Tip? campaign, as saying that approving the application would mean Boral could use its quarry site for landfill over the next 90 years, and would be committed to manage the site for 35 years after the last landfill cell was closed down.
Residents are also worried about the smell and that the water supply could become contaminated.
McCarthy was quick to reassure naysayers that Boral was taking steps to address their concerns. ?Boral has invested over $2 million in the past year on measurements to minimise and mitigate potential odour sources at the site,? he said. 
McCarthy added that two new trials were under way, including a new capping method to contain landfill gas and an odour neutralising ?mask?.
A 12m fence, the first of its kind in Australia, was also designed and built for Boral to stop litter escaping from landfill onto neighbouring properties.
Accrding to McCarthy, Boral?s Western Landfill does not accept asbestos, liquids, toxic or hazardous waste, but McAlpine-Jones remained sceptical.
?We know Boral says it does not accept hazardous materials, but let?s be honest ? who knows what is inside some of the loads going in? Not everything is inspected,? he said.
The planning application for the Ravenhall quarry landfill expansion will be considered by the Melton Council at its meeting on 27 May. 
Sources: The Herald Sun, Boral, Leader Newspapers

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