Lead soil disposal for Lake Macquarie residents

To assist residents of North Lake Macquarie to address contamination on their properties, the NSW EPA has facilitated a method for the safe disposal of lead affected soil at a reduced cost to landowners at the Newcastle City Council’s Summerhill Waste Management Centre.

Residents living in the Lead Abatement Strategy (LAS) Area will be eligible. The area covers the part of North Lake Macquarie considered to be potentially contaminated by lead from the former Pasminco smelter at Boolaroo. 

The EPA has varied the waste facility’s environment protection licence, putting in place conditions the Centre must abide by to ensure their accepting of lead contaminated soil does not present any harm to human health or the local environment.

Residents living in North Lake Macquarie and within the Lead Abatement Strategy area can register to bring soil to Summerhill by contacting the EPA’s Waste Compliance team at Newcastle on 4908 6800 from Monday 14 August, 2017.

This will ensure the EPA can keep a record of properties that have participated and ensure the system is not being misused.

There is no deadline by which residents must dispose of their waste at Summerhill – residents can continue to bring loads to the facility as long as they register those loads with the EPA in advance of visiting the facility.

Residents will pay a reduced rate for disposal as the EPA has waived the waste levy that normally applies.

Residents can get more information by contacting the EPA Environment Line on 131 555 or calling Newcastle City Council on 4974 2000.

Map

The below map shows the scheme’s eligible properties.

Aerial photograph showing the region affected  by the lead abasement strategy.

Frequently asked questions

Q1. What is the Lead Abatement Strategy (LAS) Area?

The Lead Abatement Strategy (LAS) Area is the part of North Lake Macquarie considered to be potentially contaminated by lead from the former Pasminco smelter at Boolaroo. To assist residents to address contamination on individual properties, the NSW EPA has facilitated a method of safe disposal of lead affected soil at a reduced cost to landowners.

Q2. Is my property included in the LAS Area?

The eligible properties are shown on the map.

Q3. Is there a time limit on the levy exemption?

No. The arrangements put in place are designed to cater for all impacted properties over an extended time. It is anticipated that individual landowners will make their own decisions about the need for and timing of soil removal, with some starting immediately and others addressing the clean-up at times of redevelopment or property sales, for example.

Q4. How much contaminated soil can I remove?

There is no limit to the quantity of contaminated soil which can be removed from each property. The quantity will vary depending on the size of the property, the amount of garden or green space to be remediated and the type of redevelopment of the property. The levy exemption only applies to contaminated soil and not to any other type of waste, including non-impacted soil or demolition waste. Each landowner is asked to be responsible in terms of how much waste they remove under this system.

Q5. Can I take the contaminated soil to any landfill for disposal?

No. The disposal of the contaminated soil needs to be carefully managed so that it does not continue to cause environmental issues in the future. For this reason, eligible waste from the LAS area can only be taken to Newcastle City Council’s Summerhill Waste Management Centre. Special conditions regarding the ongoing management of the soil have been developed for Council.

Q6. Can my soil be recycled?

No. Because of the type and nature of the soil contamination, it is not considered to be suitable for any type of reprocessing, recycling or re-use.

Q7. Can I remove the soil myself, or do I need to use a contractor?

Landowners and/or residents do not need to use the services of a contractor to be able to receive the benefit of a levy exemption. Each landowner should consider any benefits according to their individual circumstances. Landowners should also consider potential health impacts of removing lead contaminated soil. Further information about lead safety can be found on the EPA’s website.

SafeWork NSW also has requirements for workers dealing with lead. Further information can be found on SafeWork’s website.

Q8. Will the levy exemption cover other (non-contaminated soil) waste from my property?

No. The LAS levy exemption has been created to assist landowners in removing legacy waste from their properties. The exemption does not apply to any other type of waste generated by building or renovation works. Landowners should take care to make sure that contaminated soil is segregated from other waste streams in those situations where soil removal forms part of other works.

Q9. I am included in the study area, but have a commercial or industrial business. Am I entitled to the levy exemption?

The LAS levy exemption only applies to residential properties within the study area.

Q10. How does the exemption work? Do I need to submit an application?

No, but you will need to register your property. The levy exemption is a formal authority issued by the EPA to Summerhill Waste Management Centre. Each load of waste received at the landfill is logged against that authority, which in turn removes the need for the facility operator to collect and pay the levy to the EPA. Individual landowners do not need to apply for the exemption as this is done once at the waste facility.

Q11. How do I register my property?

To enable the waste facility to log waste from eligible properties, landowners need to register by contacting the EPA’s Waste Compliance team at Newcastle on 4908 6800. This will ensure the EPA can keep a record of properties that have participated and ensure the system is not being misused. This will also assist Summerhill Waste Management Centre manage and dispose of the contaminated soil properly.

Q12. How do I transport the soil to Summerhill Waste Management Centre?

Lead contaminated soil must be transported in a way that prevents dust being generated (i.e. it must be securely bagged to prevent the soil from escaping during transport or storage). Summerhill Waste Management Centre is providing 'bulka bags' free of charge to enable landowners/residents to safely transport contaminated soil. These can be obtained by contacting Summerhill Waste Management Centre on 4985 6600 after the landowner/resident has registered their intention to deliver lead affected soil with the EPA.

When the landowner/resident is ready to dispose of their bagged soil, they must contact Summerhill Waste Management Centre on 4985 6600 to book a delivery time. Bookings can be made on weekdays between 8.30am and 4pm, with a minimum of 24 hours' notice required.

All soil deliveries must be presented in the specially supplied 'bulka bags', securely fastened and free of any rips/holes. The bags will be inspected by a Summerhill staff member upon arrival at the weighbridge. Any non-complying deliveries will not be accepted and the resident/delivery driver will be turned away.

Q13. What does the levy exemption cover? Will there be other costs to me?

The levy exemption is only one component of the cost associated with cleaning up this legacy of soil contamination. Residents and landowners should factor in the other costs of removal including excavation, transport and general waste disposal fees (non-levy). Council will be charging $275 per tonne of contaminated soil transported to Summerhill Waste Management Centre.

Q14. Where can I get more information?

Additional information can be obtained by calling Environment Line on 131555 and asking to speak to an officer in the Newcastle EPA Waste Compliance Team. You can also put any concerns or questions in writing via email to waste.operations@epa.nsw.gov.au

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