Council 'wipes its hands' of big stink

NEIGHBOURS may be facing a long drawn out process to see odour problems at the Englands Road Waste Management facility finally resolved.

Zeno Baston, who attended a meeting with officers from the Department of Environment and Climate Change on Friday, said the DECC officials had said future progress was a matter of starting from one point and working through the issues until all of them were resolved.

“It could be five or six years before it gets sorted out,” he said.

Mr Baston said while the latest issue had been smells from the Biomass settling dam following torrential rain, the amount of treated mulch from the Biomass waste treatment plant stored on the outside pad was another problem and the problem was not just the weather, but operational practices at the plant.

“They can't get rid of (the mulched material)” he said.

The regional manager for Biomass Solutions, Lee Beckett, said this was incorrect as they now had smaller stockpiles and did have markets for the material, which is the organic residue reclaimed from red bins in three local council areas. He said the material was used by commercial landscapers, had been used in Hunter Valley mine rehabilitation and there were agricultural trials under way. He said the biggest restriction they faced was the DECC legislated requirement for re-use material, which did not allow them to move the material off site until it complied with Australian standards for chemical and biological analysis.

Mr Baston said he was disappointed that Coffs Harbour City Council has 'wiped its hands' of odour problems at the waste management facility.

Council staff spokespeople say offensive odours have been proved to be coming from the Biomass facility and not the landfill site, which council operates and DECC is responsible for policing the Biomass facility.

But Mr Baston says council commissioned the Environmental Impact Statement for the facility and as recently as six months ago rezoned his land and that of his neighbours to rural residential.

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