The EPA has received an increased number of complaints about odour and noise from the Opal Paper Mill based at Matraville since April 2021. We have been working with Opal to ensure best-practice odour control measures are implemented at their mill. This has included Opal Packaging, who run the mill, taking a number of steps, including installing new monitors, to identify and minimise odours from the premises.
As part of our investigations of these odours the EPA conducted an unannounced inspection at the Opal facility in May where EPA officers detected a weak sour wet cardboard odour when offsite and when the wind direction was from the south west to west south west. Opal advised that this odour is a result of evaporation during the paper drying process.
Opal has developed an odour strategy to investigate the community’s concerns. The strategy includes the engagement of an independent odour consultant to assess offsite odours, identify potential onsite odour sources and sample odour sources from site exhausts. Some aspects of Opal’s strategy have been delayed due to the current COVID-19 public health orders however, where possible some aspects are expected to commence in September 2021.
Opal has also recently installed gas monitors designed to detect discharge of excess biogas released from pressure valves associated with the secondary water treatment plant. Biogas discharge from pressure valves occurs occasionally by design as a safety measure and has been reported as smelling like sulphur/rotten eggs. The new gas monitors will trigger onsite measures designed to minimise the impact of biogas odours.
Current COVID-19 public health orders are restricting the movement of EPA officers. The EPA’s regular odour surveys in the Matraville area will resume once COVID-19 movement restrictions ease.
Noise, odour and other complaints relating to Opal packaging can be reported to Opal on 1800 072 734, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Reporting via the licence holder in the first instance is appropriate and will ensure the quickest response.
The EPA has been receiving noise complaints from the community in Matraville and surrounding areas. The noise environment in the Port Botany area is complex and we are working with a number of stakeholders including Bayside and Randwick Councils and NSW Ports to identify noise sources in this area.
We recently commissioned an independent noise expert to conduct low frequency noise monitoring throughout the Port Botany area, including around Matraville. The key findings identified that the dominant source of low frequency noise in the area was attributed to shipping vessels and port noise. From these investigations we know that Opal contributes low frequency noise in the area but not the amount of noise. The multitude of noise sources in the area meant it was not possible to determine the amount of noise from individual sources as part of this study.
We are working with Opal to identify potential sources and potential mitigation options if required.
Please report environmental concerns or complaints to the NSW EPA’s Environment Line on 131 555 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.