The West Gate Tunnel is a State Significant road project.
Maddingley Brown Coal is proposing to develop the Western Soil Treatment facility to receive and safely manage spoil dug up from the project.
The proposal has received environmental and planning approval.
The approval demonstrates MBC’s commitment to meeting the highest standards of environmental and community protection.
Western Soil Treatment is situated within a State Significant Waste hub that includes a licensed Category C landfill.
Spoil from the West Gate Tunnel Project will be transported to site in covered, sealed trucks. The spoil itself is wet, like thick mud.
On arrival, the spoil is:
placed in purpose-engineered storage bays, lined with layers of compacted clay, cement, lime, and other materials to ensure they are watertight.
sampled for laboratory analysis in line with national policies for managing contaminants and EPA regulations.
held in the storage bays for a maximum of 21 days before being moved into the second and final area, a lined containment cell that is engineered to the highest safety standards.
Water from the facility will be drained into a purpose-built pond. A treatment plant will remove traces of PFAS – manufactured chemicals commonly found in household items– through a state-of-the-art filtration process, leaving clean water that meets drinking water standards.
The remaining soil is expected to have negligible levels of contamination.
For more information, download the FAQs, Managing Impacts Fact Sheet, summary of the EPA assessment of the proposal and documents released by the Minister for Planning in approving the planning application.
MBC commenced discussions about project
Stakeholder and community engagement
February and March 2020
Planning Scheme Amendment submitted
Planning scheme amendment approved
Environmental Management Plan submitted
Successful site selected
We heard what you said
The proposal has been refined over eight months of consultation with stakeholders, regulators and agencies.
In February and March 2020, MBC undertook engagement on its proposal. This included community information sessions, a series of stakeholder briefings and two community pop-ups.
Feedback from stakeholders has helped shape changes to the proposal to further reduce the already very low risks. The facility now includes:
A wastewater treatment plant to remove traces of PFAS from wastewater, leaving clean water that meets drinking water standards.
An upgraded containment cell with stronger liners – doubling the strength of the liner system using a landfill-standard double composite liner using a state-of-the-art membrane.
Strengthened storage bays and the construction of a prototype, which is proven to stop wastewater reaching groundwater.
All of these measures form part of an Environmental Management Plan, which will be overseen by the EPA in line with regulations and requires strict monitoring, compliance and auditing by an independent expert.
To see how stakeholders' feedback helped shape the proposal, click here.
A state-of-the-art wastewater facility will treat water to remove traces of PFAS.
Water from the wet spoil, storage bays and containment cell will drain into a large wastewater pond.
There, the wastewater will be passed through a filtration system that uses carbon filters
Any PFAS in the water will bond to the carbon filters. Full filters will be taken to a licensed facility for disposal.
This process leaves behind clean water that meets drinking water standards. This water will be used for onsite for dust suppression, forming a closed-loop wastewater treatment cycle.
Environmental Management Plan
The EPA has approved an Environmental Management Plan for MBC’s proposed Western Soil Treatment Facility.
The approval confirms that the proposal meets strict regulations for the safe management of West Gate Tunnel Project spoil.
The Environment Management Plan details how the facility will receive, handle, analyse and safely dispose of the soil, including the removal of traces of PFAS from wastewater.
The EMP has recently been revised so that all conditions of a previous approval have been met and signed off by an independent auditor.
Click here to view to view our statement.
The Minister for Planning has rezoned the Western Soil Treatment site to allow the facility to be built and operated for the 18 months to two years that the project is expected to take.
The approval allows for the facility to be built, operation of the facility is subject to conditions set by the Minister for Planning in consultation with stakeholders, including Moorabool Shire Council.
Conditions relate to issues like traffic management and road safety, flora and fauna, noise and dust mitigation, site closure and aftercare management.
To view the planning application and the approval issued by the Minister for Planning, visit the DELWP website.
To view a fact sheet explaining how Western Soil Treatment will manage the conditions of its planning and EPA approvals, download this fact sheet.
MBC recognises there is community interest in our proposal and our robust approach to safely manage the excavated tunnel material has been adapted and strengthened after 12 months of engagement with the community, key stakeholders and regulators.
While these approvals are an important step for MBC, there is an ongoing competitive tender process and our facility will only proceed if Western Soil Treatment is selected by the West Gate Tunnel Project’s builders, CPB John Holland.
Western Soil Treatment will provide regular updates on major works and any potential disruption.
MBC has been operating for more than 30 years in the local area and we will continue to conduct the business in a way which protects the health of the local community and the environment.
We value the community’s feedback. To get in touch, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour, seven day a week hotline on 1300 978 199.
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