Brimbank puts pressure on updates from Barro and AkzoNobel

By Matthew Sims

The Brimbank council has requested an update from the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) on the Kealba landfill and AkzoNobel North Sunshine developments.

Councilwoman Virginia Tachos passed a motion during Tuesday, April 19, council meeting, calling on the council to write to EPA Chief Executive Lee Miezis to request an urgent update on the EPA’s compliance and enforcement activities related to the landfill site. Kealba of the Barro Group and AkzoNobel North Sunshine and request the EPA to resume meaningful dialogue with local communities and provide an update to affected communities.

Cr Tachos also asked the council to provide a copy of the correspondence to the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio, Sydenham MP Natalie Hutchins and St Albans MP Natalie Suleyman.

According to the motion, the update should include progress in resolving pending issues, timelines for resolving these issues, rationale for current compliance strategies and engagement activities with affected communities.

Cr Tachos said the two EPA-licensed sites continued to cause “significant distress” to local communities.

“The EPA has promised local communities strong and prompt action to resolve these issues,” she said.

“Local communities have been promised that the EPA will do everything it can to solve the problems, but to date, despite all these promises, the EPA is nowhere to be found.

“Local communities have been let down by the EPA again.”

Western metropolitan EPA regional manager Steve Lansdell said the EPA would continue “strong regulatory action” regarding the Kealba landfill and the problems with AkzoNobel’s paint and resin plant.

“EPA recognizes the concerns and impacts that both issues have had on the local community for too long, and these are still being considered in all compliance and enforcement actions taken,” he said.

“While every location and issue is different, EPA has taken a consistent approach, including escalating enforcement actions, including official warnings, fines and, in the case of Barro Group, suspending their operating license.

“EPA continues to investigate potential violations of licenses and relevant laws in both locations and has strict legal requirements to resolve the issues as quickly and securely as possible through active legal notices.”

Mr Lansdell said any residents concerned about these issues should attend an upcoming community information session on Tuesday 3rd May from 3-6pm at the St Albans Community Centre, 33 Princess Street, St Albans.

The EPA has given Barro Group until August 22 to complete remediation work at the Kealba site, following the suspension of Barro Group’s license to operate the landfill in September 2021 due to ongoing hotspot and odor issues affecting local residents.

The EPA is currently reviewing AkzoNobel’s latest odor control plan to confirm any further requirements and timelines.

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