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The following report details the chronological list of strategic actions and programs relating to waste that have been implemented by Council. Essentially in summary there have been many changes, programs and improvements in the strategic waste area of Council which include the following:
- 2004 - Waste Management Centre dual weigh bridge opened to record all incoming and outgoing wastes and recyclables in tonnes, together paired to a computer system to record all the wastes. All incoming wastes before this time were recorded as volume units and were not accurate and did not record tonnages. All vehicles are weighed and photographed upon entry to the Waste Management Centre. During this time a waste transfer station was opened. This new initiative meant customers did not have to travel to the main tipping face to dispose of their waste, and could unload under cover on a dedicated hard stand area in a safe and secure environment. This also assisted in the diversion of more waste from landfill and increased recycling.
- 2004 - Fully integrated leachate system was installed and operational that intercepts all leachate from the landfill, and keeps it on site which also includes storm water diversion dams that hold transferred storm water away from the hard stand areas. Prior to this installation the Waste Management Centre only had limited capabilities in regards to collecting leachate, and diverting water in the event of a storm. With the new system, a series of drains, and a large 500 metre interceptor trench (at the base of the landfill) ensure no leachate water leaves the site, and storm water is diverted to the intended holding dams.
- May 2005 - Waste Strategy Report was written and released identifying issues relating to waste, especially in rural areas. The report looks at the issues surrounding waste management in the former Evans area, and is now Bathurst Regional Council's responsibility. Prior to the reports' submission to Council, a series of village meetings were held in various communities around the new regional area. The main goal of the meetings was to ascertain as to what specific waste needs each community had. These were quite successful and were included in the report.
- 2006 - "Bin it, don't Butt it" littering campaign targeting smokers addressing the littering issues caused by cigarettes. This campaign was funded by the Butt Littering Trust and Council received approximately $10,000 to fund the project. Smokers were approached and asked what they usually did with their waste. If responsive they were then offered a small receptacle to dispose of their cigarette butt in a responsible manner as an alternative to littering. The campaign was a new initiative for Council targeting cigarette waste for the first time.
- March 2007 - Wattle Flat rural tip closed indefinitely due to constant fires and misuse. Wattle Flat tip had been a dumping ground for many years, and has endured waste dumping from the metropolitan area. As the current site was full and only seven kilometres for Sofala, the decision was made to close the site and amalgamate the two regions with one disposal point at Sofala. The current site at Sofala was used until full, then replaced with a transfer station which is currently operational with two 30 cubic metre skip bins.
- November 2007 - Work started on four rural transfer stations - Sunny Corner, Sofala, Rockley, and Trunkey Creek. Council identified these four landfills for upgrades into transfer stations. This would mean all waste from the new regional area (except Hill End tip) would come back to the Bathurst WMC, thus centralising waste operations in the area. By upgrading the current rural tips, customers could then dispose of their waste in a safe environment, and also collect and intercept recycling which was otherwise disposed of in the rural tips.
- December 2007 - JR Richards appointed seven year recycling contract for Kerbside co-mingled recycling. Prior to this recycling in Bathurst was on a voluntary basis with only 28-30% of residents taking part in the program. This offered little diversion from landfill and did not offer any tangible outcomes in regards to recycling in the Bathurst region. Part of the new service was to introduce co-mingled recycling to Bathurst, which could allow the resident mix many types of recyclable material within the one bin.
It also allowed for a greater range of recyclables to be collected, especially in the plastic range. This saw the range increase to 7 types, taking in the full plastics range.
Following the increased range collection, the system allows a single pick-up with two dedicated trucks, with the material being transported back to a material recovery facility for sorting. Such benefits allowed huge gains in diversion from landfill, with compulsory participation, and greater awareness of recycling through contractor run education programs.
- February 2008 - Transfer Stations opened and old landfill remediation began. The sites identified in the rural waste strategy were upgraded to transfer stations due to their cubic capacity running out, and that many environmental controls were not met in their current state. By having transfer stations - all incoming waste from the rural areas can be collected and taken back to a central landfill for processing. So far all four transfer stations have operated with few problems, and Council has seen added benefit with plans to introduce household recycling, bulk metal, and engine oils diverted from the incoming rural waste stream.
- February 2008 - Landfill Gas project in conjunction with Trans Pacific International and Country Energy. Landfill Gas burnt on site in a flare fed from 19 bores located on the tipping face. This project was originally tabled in 2005 with investigative research done by Jason Scarborough from Department of Energy and Climate Change. Gas pockets were found using infra red vision and then plotted into a grid. This particular technology target "hot spots" within the landfill and ensure optimum gas extraction from each bore is achieved.
- 2008 July - Co-mingled recycling introduced to transfer stations, recycled oil collections, and bulk metal collections. Due to ongoing theft of garbage bins, special frames were erected to hold 20 mobile garbage bins so patrons could drop off their recycling in a clean and safe environment. Bulk metal is collected via a 15 cubic metre skip bin, and oil is collected in a self standing 1500 litre waste oil unit complete with lid. These items ensure that little recycling, metal, or oil is received at the main facility in Bathurst, and that these materials can be successfully diverted from landfill.
- April 2008 - Additional transfer station bays opened at the Waste Management Centre - this includes green waste, metal recycling, and E-waste recycling. To properly divert material at the source, a greater presence was required at the transfer station itself. This meant an additional staff member was required to man the station and assist patrons in unloading their waste and ensuring recyclable material is actively diverted and not put into landfill.
- May 2009 - Bulk e-waste collection, all electronic material is collected at the transfer station and is put in a 40 foot shipping container. The material is then taken to Simms e-waste in Sydney for recycling which sees approximately 95% recycled. This is a great initiative as we are the only Council in the Netwaste region embarking on all year round bulk e-waste collections. This program was sponsored by Netwaste to the tune of $5000, and assisted Council in the purchase of the shipping container. The container is currently 100% full.
- June 2009 - Composting trial conducted using chipped green waste. This trial is based on the "Groundswell Project" running in Goulburn and Condobolin. Green waste is collected along with household organic material and is treated with microbial seeding agents and started cultures, and is then composted under tarps. This process is a fermentative process, rather than a traditional aerobic turning process. The trial has been successful in turning chipped green waste low labour costs and low maintenance with limited turning and re-tarp and is ideal for medium size landfills with little access to heavy composting equipment.
- September 2009 - Waste Management Centre extension and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Looking at increasing fill rates, and the overall location of the current landfill, it is evident that to expand the life of the landfill an extension would have to be undertaken. The extension is also required so as to build an even landfill, and improve current landfill batters which are too steep due to the current boundaries.
Other projects (2009 - 2012) that Council has completed are as follows:
- Florescent tubes and compact tube recycling - globes and tubes are collected then sent to EMA ecocycle for processing saving and diverting from landfill, glass, metals, and mercury. Lead Acid battery recycling - ongoing project of removing all car, truck and bike batteries from landfill. Batteries are stored in an acid proof bunded and lockable shed prior to reprocessing.
- Mobile phone recycling - new this year at the Waste Management Centre, which mirrors the collection at the chambers that sees a full diversion from landfill.
- Household battery recycling - new project aimed at capturing the household battery waste stream, which is largely overlooked in regards to removing it from municipal waste which is collected through Council's kerbside waste service.
- Household waste oil container recycling - along with waste engine oil and gear oil, the containers are also recycled which allows even greater diversion of petroleum hydrocarbon products from the landfill.
- Co-mingled household recycling - all the current benefits of the current kerbside service are also available at the Waste Management Centre, along with bulk cardboard recycling. The centre has six front lift bins which allow for greater amounts of recycling, and enable greater diversion and less contamination.
- Cardboard recycling - This service allows bulk cardboard to dropped at the centre in commercial quantities if required. The amount of cardboard accepted has also been increased, as it can be crushed in the cage with a cardboard crushing implement attached to a small skid steer loader. This doubles our current cardboard capacity.
- Bulk metal bay at transfer station - the bay enables all types of metal to be collected without the need of going to the bulk metal pile located near the tipping face. All metals, frames, white goods, and small metal items can all be deposited at the one place, enabling greater diversion and more metal income sales to Council.
- Mulch for residents. Free mulch can be obtained by residents from the waste management centre. Mulch is given away as is and can be used for garden use only. Last year up to 500 tonnes of mulch have been given away to residents who pick it up from the Waste Management Centre.
- Bio-solids are also diverted from the landfill (average of over 8,000 tonnes each year) and used as a soil conditioner. These bio-solids have also been used in a current composting trial, which explores further use of bio-solids in fermentative composting process.
- Rural transfer station clean up vehicles in the form of a skid steer loader and small rigid tip truck have been purchased. Enables rural tips to be cleaned quickly, and cleared up of any waste material that has been dumped in the transfer station area, and not in the supplied 30 cubic metre skip bins.
- Drummuster - held once a month at the WMC. Accepts all drums in the Drummuster program with all drums inspected and receipted from farmers/patrons. Household hazardous collections - Annual program for all household chemicals and other items not accepted at solid waste landfills.
In summary Council has undertaken a large number of strategies, initiatives and actions all aimed at improving waste services and diversions from Council's landfill.