’Don’t dump SRL soil in Dandy’

The prescribed industrial waste landfill at Taylors Road, Lyndhurst. 228738_01 Picture: GARY SISSONS

By Ava Cashmore

A pair of Greater Dandenong councillors are alarmed by the possibility of millions of tonnes of further toxic soil being dumped in Dandenong.

The construction of the Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) from Cheltenham to Burwood will require the removal and relocation of one million cubic metres of contaminated soil.

The Victorian Government states it has appropriate funds to “work with contractors to identify the most appropriate way to reuse, treat and manage soil safely and within existing capacity”.

But Opposition leader John Pesutto raised concerns about relocating the “toxic and dangerous soil” near communities.

“It’s going to affect communities, not only those communities around the construction sites along the proposed line, but communities that will be affected by the relocation of this toxic and dangerous soil in the vicinity of their homes or their communities.”

Councillors Rhonda Garad and Jim Memeti have been outspoken about the impacts of industrial pollution on residents in Keysborough South and Dandenong South.

They say Dandenong, which is home to soil recycling facilities and Lyndhurst toxic landfill, should not become the SRL’s dumping ground.

“Dandenong deserves better – it’s time to stop treating our community as Melbourne’s toxic dumping ground,” Cr Garad said.

“Environmental safety must be a right, not a privilege.”

The landfill at Taylors Road, operational since 1990, is unique in Melbourne for accepting Prescribed Industrial Waste (PIW).

The landfill’s operations include a soil processing facility, a materials recycling facility (de-packaging), an ice pigging depot, and a soil washing facility.

Landfill operator Veolia stated: “The Taylor Road Landfill and EarthSure facility have environmental management plans in place that meet the strict requirements of EPA Victoria.”

Cr Garad said “there have been no recent environmental reports to assess the current state of the Lyndhurst facility in light of these new developments” as her attempt to obtain one from the council was ignored.

“This lack of updated information is alarming.”

Cr Memeti said residents were opposed to the soil being “carted across multiple suburbs“ and “dumped in Dandenong“.

He called for the State Government to explore other options such as treatment at a soil recycling facility or burying the soil near the site in a mound.

“The biggest problem is that Dandenong seems to cop everything. If you dump it on us, you make us a less desirable place to live.

“The State Government has to come up with other alternatives than to just dump it in Dandenong.“

He and the City of Greater Dandenong have rejected the Lyndhurst toxic landfill for the past 27 years.

Despite this, the Government extended the landfill beyond its supposed closure date of 2020.

Lyndhurst toxic landfill’s continued use has long upset nearby Dandenong South residents, Cr Memeti says.

“Come down to George Andrews Reserve and talk to 20 people, they will give you the same answer. The residents aren’t happy at all.“

Last month, City of Greater Dandenong was approached for comment on the SRL soil issue but did not have any comment “at this stage“.