Lead soil disposal for Lake Macquarie residents

The NSW EPA has an arrangement in place with Newcastle City Council for disposal of contaminated soil from the North Lake Macquarie suburbs of Boolaroo, Argenton and Speers Point that are within the lead abatement strategy area.

Residents wishing to dispose of material at Summerhill Waste Management Centre (SWMC) should contact the NSW EPA to receive a consignment number, (http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/working-together/community-engagement/community-news/lmc-review-lead-exposure-management/lead-soil-disposal-for-lake-macquarie-residents).

Contaminated soil must then be placed in bulka bags provided free of charge by Newcastle City Council, a delivery time booked in with SWMC and the load delivered to SWMC at the scheduled time. The 2018-19 cost is $284.50 per tonne including all fees and levies apply.

For more information, residents can contact the NSW EPA Environment Line on 131 555 or Newcastle City Council on 4974 2000. Further information about lead safety can be found on the NSW EPA's website, www.epa.nsw.gov.au.

Why can't we take the soil to Awaba Waste Management Facility or somewhere else in Lake Macquarie?

The Awaba Waste Management Facility is relatively small and is unable to accommodate a new cell for contaminated land.

Environmental, human health and financial costs associated with opening a new dedicated site in Lake Macquarie for the disposal of contaminated soil from North Lake Macquarie is prohibitive compared to the available cell for contaminated soil at Newcastle City Council's Summerhill Waste Management Centre.

When will the Council officer start?

Anticipated starting time for this NSW EPA grant funded role will be 1 October 2018. The key duties of this role will be:

- to monitor ongoing issues and to identify future issues regarding legacy lead contamination in Lake Macquarie through a risk communication framework

- as a single point of contact for the community, agencies and external stakeholders in regard to legacy lead contamination in Lake Macquarie

- providing funding support and advice to public and private landholders wishing to undertake voluntary soil assessment and property remediation

- expanding engagement material to include advice on maintaining contamination barriers and hygiene, and improving links to and from Hunter New England Health information.

What is the funding breakdown for the NSW EPA grant?

Council is receiving $800,000 over four years to implement the certain Lead Expert Working Group recommendations that are outside the usual remit of Council activities recommendations 1, 2 , 13, 18 and 19). About half of these funds will be spent on the small grant fund and the remainder will be used to implement the other recommendations. 

How much input does the community actually have into the Living with Lead in North Lake Macquarie small grant program?

Our current engagement is seeking feedback on criteria for allocation of the small grant fund and the focus of Council's work to implement the other recommendations funded by the NSW EPA.  The grant program is constrained by a risk management framework and the terms of the grant agreement with the NSW EPA. This means that we must take into account how to best manage the impact of contaminated land on the health of the local community and environment. For example, access to the grant program must be prioritised where there are acute health issues identified. Other possibilities are testing for soil if the status is not currently known or supplying bulka bag frames to assist in loading of bags for transport of contaminated soil. 

When does the small grant fund open and how can I access it?

The current community engagement is seeking community feedback into the criteria for accessing the funding for the small grant fund. Once this feedback has been reviewed it will be used to help determine the grant criteria and governance arrangements.

The grant program arrangements will then be finalised, with an access date likely to be from late 2018.