Hepburn Shire avoids cost blowout at former Creswick landfill site

The Hepburn Shire has managed to avoid spending as much as $500,000 to manage the former Creswick landfill site, with the Environmental Protection Authority only requesting minor works. 

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The council’s 2017/18 budget delivered an 8.3 per cent hike to the waste management charge in order to help generate $450,000 to pay for works at the Anne Street site. 

The Environmental Protection Authority inspected the site in late 2016 and requested a new clay cap be built. 

A further $450,000 was to be factored in for the 2018/19 budget after the EPA indicated a new leachate dam may need to be built, however the peak body has not requested the procedure be carried out. 

A leachate dam, which is used to catch potentially toxic waste, was built when the site was decommissioned.

EPA north west manager Dr Scott Pigdon said in a statement a notice had been issued to the shire to Install an additional groundwater monitoring bore to the north of the Creswick landfill by November 30. 

Creswick Ward Councillor Don Henderson said while the new monitoring bore would cost about $20,000 to install, it was a good outcome for the shire given what could have been requested. 

“We were looking at a worst case scenario that we might have to spend that money because you don’t have a choice if (the EPA) put a notice on you,” Cr Henderson said.  “Now the testing’s been done it shows we don’t have to spend that. 

“We didn’t buck the system, we said we'd work with the EPA and that’s always the best bet.” 

Contractual matters surrounding the delivery of the clay cap were carried during the confidential portion of August’s Hepburn Shire Council meeting.  

The thicker clay cap on the former landfill site is expected to be completed by the end of the year. 

Council will also be required to provide an updated groundwater monitoring event report to the EPA to confirm if there is any contamination of groundwater by December 8.