In early January 2022, odours again became an issue for Minchinbury residents. These new odours appeared to have different characteristics compared to those from Bingo’s centre last year.
Our investigation determined that green waste at SUEZ composting facility and GRL waste processing facility in the Wallgrove Rd waste precinct were the most likely sources.
We issued prevention notices to both companies, requiring that they remove the large stockpile of unprocessed organic material.
The companies were also required to have an independent odour expert identify any other odour-producing activities at the facility and to fix them.
From mid-March there was a spike in hydrogen sulfide detections in the air-monitoring instruments set up in the area, and in community reports.
On 22 March 2022, Bingo advised that the landfill gas collection and flaring network, installed last year at its Eastern Creek Landfill waste processing centre to stop the odours, was affected by the recent heavy rains. We ensured that Bingo made their flares operational as quickly as possible .
Due to ongoing odours, on 30 March 2022 we issued Bingo a legally binding Prevention Notice. The Notice requires Bingo to undertake further urgent assessment work to identify and fix any remaining sources of landfill gas and odours. We require daily updates from Bingo, and a comprehensive report in early April.
We also instructed Bingo to commission daily independent odour surveys adjacent to the facility and in the community. Weekly updates on the results must be made on the Bingo website.
We are closely monitoring the situation. Our officers are frequently patrolling the area and regularly inspecting the Bingo landfill, taking odour surveys and collecting evidence of any potential breaches of licence conditions or environmental legislation.
We identified Bingo’s Dial-a-Dump facility at Eastern Creek as a major source of odour impacting neighbours in April 2021. Measures were put in place to reduce the odour impacts on the community, including restrictions to the company’s environment protection licence.
Bingo has now installed a landfill gas extraction system and flare system to burn the gas, destroying odorous gases generated within the landfill and resulting in a reduction of odours, with less complaints made to the EPA.
Our investigation into potential breaches of legislation and licence requirements is ongoing, and regulatory action will be taken where appropriate.
Regulatory action, such as issuing fines, can take time as it requires evidence gathering that may need to be presented to a Court.
Installation of monitors
We installed seven monitors in the Minchinbury and Eastern Creek area to detect hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg gas), which has been the main odour reported by the community. Four of the monitors are in the Eastern Creek industrial area close to the landfill, three are in the Minchinbury residential area. Information from the monitors, along with odour patrols by EPA officers and odour reports from the community, help us to check that the requirements relating to potentially odorous activities such as the Bingo Dial A Dump facility are working.
How do the monitors work?
The monitors are small (about the size of a litre carton of milk) and automatic. They take an air sample every 10 minutes and analyse it for hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg gas).
They can detect levels as low as 3 parts of hydrogen sulfide per billion parts of air (ppb), and as high as 2,000 ppb.
About half of people can smell hydrogen sulfide at a concentration of around 8 parts hydrogen sulphide per billion parts of air (ppb), but some people can smell it at 0.5 ppb while others first smell it at 300 ppb.
The monitors are connected to the existing mobile phone network, and every 12 hours they transmit the data collected to us.
The readings will be updated twice a week.
These charts show the concentration detected in each 10 minute sample of air collected by the seven hydrogen sulfide monitors.