Lucas Heights Resource Recovery Park Development Proposal

04/11/2015

SUEZ plans to invest in and upgrade essential waste management and resource recovery infrastructure at the Lucas Heights Resource Recovery Park.

SUEZ has operated the Lucas Heights Resource Recovery Park since 2011, helping councils, businesses and residents manage their waste and conserve resources.

At the Resource Recovery Park, we currently process garden organics into composts, mulches and other soil conditioning products.

Where waste is not recovered, we dispose of it in highly engineered landfill cells where gas is then captured to produce enough renewable energy to power up to 20,000 homes.

About the proposal

Under the proposal, we are seeking approval to increase capacity at the New Illawarra Road Landfill by 8.3 million cubic metres and extend operations at the site until 2037.  This will enable us to re-profile the landfill's final surface to enable better rainwater runoff and improve odour management.

The landfill’s gas capture system will also be upgraded to further reduce a source of odour and greenhouse gas emissions and increase renewable energy production.

The capacity of the garden organics operation will be increased to a maximum of 80,000 tonnes per year and activities moved to the western side of the site near Heathcote Road, further away from residential areas.

We plan to invest in additional infrastructure for our garden organics operations, using concrete bunkers with aeration and covering with a breathable membrane during the active phases of the composting process for better odour management.

We are also seeking approval to build a $90 million Advanced Resource Recovery Technology facility in the future which would divert up to 70% of waste from landfill.

The proposed facility would be fully enclosed and process up to 200,000 tonnes per year of municipal waste into compost for use on degraded soils.

The facility would also process mixed plastics, timbers, textiles and other dry combustible materials into fuels which can replace gas and coal in existing power stations, cement kilns or industrial furnaces.

The Lucas Heights Resource Recovery Park will ultimately be returned to the community as parklands for everyone to enjoy in a similar way to the Ridge Golf Course and Sports Complex at Menai which were developed on the site of the old Lucas Heights landfill.

As part of the proposal, SUEZ will contribute $100 million over 15 years to Sutherland Shire Council which will be used by Council to fund a range of new projects and facility upgrades in the Sutherland Shire.

SUEZ has developed a video providing an overview of the site and the proposed redevelopment.  Click here to watch the video.  

As part of the planning and approval process, SUEZ has prepared an Environmental Impact Statement in consultation with key stakeholders including Sutherland Shire Council, ANSTO and the community. The Environmental Impact Statement included comprehensive assessment of potential environmental impacts the proposal has on the environment in the short and long term. With the implementation of best practice application of a range of mitigation measures, the Environmental Impact Statement concluded that there would be no significant impact on the community or environment. The EIS is now available on the Department's website.

Better environmental outcomes

SUEZ constantly strives for the best possible environmental outcomes and we have introduced significant operational improvements since acquiring the site in 2011. These improvements include:

• Construction of new landfill cells to best practice standards with a double liner system
• Improved stormwater controls
• Improved odour management
• Installation of portable litter nets and screens around the tipping face and introduction of regular litter patrols
• Investment in new landfill gas extraction infrastructure that produces renewable energy
• Investing in additional infrastructure for the garden organics facility, including aerating and covering active phases of the composting process for better odour control

As part of the planning and approval process, SUEZ has prepared an Environmental Impact Statement in consultation with key stakeholders including Sutherland Shire Council, ANSTO and the community. The Environmental Impact Statement included comprehensive assessment of potential environmental impacts the proposal has on the environment in the short and long term. With the implementation of best practice application of a range of mitigation measures, the Environmental Impact Statement concluded that there would be no significant impact on the community or environment.

The proposal also contributes to better environmental outcomes compared to “business as usual” approach. The expansion of the landfill enables the final slope of the landform to be re-profiled to enable more effective rainwater runoff which would also improve odour management. The resulting landform will be compliant with EPA best practice and lessen rainwater infiltration and leachate generation, resulting in better environmental outcomes. Key areas of improvement include reduced odour emissions, reduced leachate generation and significant contribution to initiatives in the Sutherland Shire to combat litter and illegal dumping.

The proposal also includes upgrade of the Garden Organics facility which incorporates technology to reduce odour emission. The Garden Organics facility will also be relocated further away from existing residential receptors.

An Advance Resource Recovery Treatment facility is also part of this proposal. This facility processes and recovers valuable resources which diverts waste away from landfill.

Community consultation

We have undertaken initial consultation with the community during the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement and will continue our commitment to actively engage and listen to the community and our stakeholders throughout the planning process.

Throughout the Environmental Impact Statement preparation process, we have seeked input from the community through our Lucas Heights Community Reference Group, which is made up of local residents and business neighbours and meets regularly to discuss our operations. This is going to continue on a regular basis.

During the exhibition of the Environmental Impact Statement, we will continue to maintain our community information phone line and community input email address to take questions and feedback from the local community and any other interested stakeholders. The email address is lucas.heights@suez-env.com.au and the phone number is 1800 810 680.

We will also continue to help educate the local community about resource recovery, recycling and waste management practices. We continue to offer guided tours of Lucas Heights Resource Recovery Park and information of the tours are available through contacting (02) 9708 7824 or at gareth.jones@suez-env.com.au.

We encourage the community to have their say on this proposal during the Environmental Impact Statement public consultation period. If you wish to find out more information in person, please visit us at the following times:

Menai Market Place
Tuesday 10 & 17 & 24 November: 9am-11am
Thursday 12 & 19 & 26 November: 3pm-7pm
Saturday 14 & 21 & 28 November: 10:30am-12:30pm & 2pm-4pm
Sunday 15 & 22 November: 10am-12pm

The Ridge Golf Club House
Saturday 14 & 21 & 28 November: 8am-10am

Giving back to the community

​Parts of the Lucas Heights Resource Recovery Park are currently being used by the community including the PCYC Mini Bike Club and the Sydney International Clay Target Association (SICTA).

Once operations cease in 2037, the proposal involves the site being rehabilitated into parklands within two years for everyone to enjoy. The parkland will have a total area of 149 ha, which is approximately 25 hectares larger in area than the currently approved parkland, providing more area for recreation and community use.

The ARRT facility would provide opportunities for employment during construction and operation. Since the facility would operate for up to 20 years, long term operational positions would be available. SUEZ would endeavour to recruit staff locally rather than transfer staff from other SUEZ facilities.

As part of the proposal, SUEZ will contribute $100 million to Sutherland Shire Council which will be used by Council to find a range of new projects and facility upgrades in the Sutherland Shire.

As part of the proposal, SUEZ will contribute $100 million in funding over 15 years to Sutherland Shire Council which will be used by Council to fund a range of projects or facility upgrades in the Sutherland Shire. SUEZ will also contribute to other environmental initiatives in the Sutherland Shire, including contribution to a $300,000 fund over five years aimed at preventing and combatting illegal dumping in the Sutherland Shire

SUEZ will continue to support a range of community initiatives and local sporting teams in the Sutherland Shire, including Menai Roosters Junior Rugby League, Menai Warriors Junior Rugby Union, Bangor Football Club, Bangor Cricket Club, Barden Ridgebacks Football Club and Barden Ridgebacks Netball Club.


Proposed community parklands under the proposal

We are a major sponsor of the Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation based in the Sutherland Shire and have contributed $150,000 to programs supporting school-aged children living in families affected by mental illness.

We also invest in our communities through a variety of community sponsorships and partnerships. Through the SUEZ Community Grants Program, we provide funding for social and environmental projects which help create a more sustainable future. In its two years of operation, our grants program has provided more than $250,000 to inspiring local community organisations and projects and helped to build strong and thriving communities.

Questions & Answers

As with any new development, we understand there may be questions about the proposal.  Answers to some of the common questions are below:

Why is SUEZ proposing to increase landfill capacity?

Landfilling plays a necessary role in managing Australia's waste. Our landfills are designed to maximise the operational life of each cell and take up as little space as possible to reduce the environmental and social impacts of waste disposal. The Lucas Heights Resource Recovery Park is an essential piece of waste management infrastructure for the Sutherland Shire and the Sydney region.

Landfill capacity in Sydney is reducing at a rapid rate. Belrose landfill closed in early November 2014, the Eastern Creek landfill will close in 2017 and the New Illawarra Road Landfill is expected to close in 2024. With the closure of these landfills, Sydney residents will lose over one million tonnes of annual landfill capacity. From 2025, there will be only one landfill to dispose of Sydney’s putrescible waste.

The increase in landfill capacity will also help to achieve the best design for the final landform. Since acquiring the site in 2011, we have reviewed the design of the current landfill to ensure it will meet NSW EPA guidelines. We found that the final slope of the landform needs to be re-profiled to enable more effective rainwater runoff. The resulting landform will exceed EPA guidelines and lessen rainwater infiltration and leachate generation. This will also result in better environmental outcomes and improvements in odour management.

SUEZ believes that the proposed expansion of the Lucas Heights Resource Recovery Park is the best solution as it allows the diversion of recyclables and organics and the extension of the life of the existing landfill.

Will there be increased odour from the facility?

SUEZ has measures in place to prevent and mitigate odour from the facility and this will continue. Since SUEZ has taken over the operation of the site, the level of odour complaints has reduced significantly. For instance, from 2012 to 2013, odour complaints fell by 53 per cent. From 2013 to 2014, odour complaints fell by a further 57 per cent. 2013 and 2014 have seen the lowest number of odour complaints in the last 10 years.

By investing in landfill gas capture systems, relocating the garden organics facility and covering the active phases of the composting process, odour potential will be reduced compared to current activities. The state-of-the-art Advanced Resource Recovery Technology facility SUEZ is seeking to build will be fully enclosed to minimise the potential for an additional odour source on site. In addition, the re-profiling of the landform will help to improve odour management.

A comprehensive air quality assessment has been undertaken as part of the Environmental Impact Statement. It was concluded that through the proposal, odour from our operations across the precinct will be reduced by more than 40% compared to current levels. These improvements will be achieved as early as 2016. In addition, odour modelling shows the facility will achieve the ‘two odour units’ performance criteria at the nearest residential receptor. Typically, odour less than two odour units is not perceived as a nuisance.

Will there be more litter around the facility?

SUEZ has measures in place to reduce litter from the facilities on site. Waste disposed at the landfill is compacted and covered daily. In addition, portable litter nets and screens have been installed around the tipping face and portable litter fences are used during periods of high winds. Regular litter patrols of the site, the boundary and roads leading to the facility are also conducted. Trucks transporting material from the premises are also covered and tailgates are securely fixed.

As part of this proposal, existing controls to manage and mitigate litter such as portable litter nets and regular patrols will continue. Waste delivered to the ARRT would occur within enclosed buildings therefore the potential litter impact is low.

In addition, SUEZ will contribute to a $300,000 fund over five years aimed at preventing and combatting illegal dumping in the Sutherland Shire.

Will it cause traffic congestion?

The Lucas Heights Resource Recovery Precinct accounts for only 1.3% of all vehicles on New Illawarra Road at the present time. Under the proposal, there will be marginal increases to traffic volumes along New Illawarra Road and Heathcote Road.

The year 2027 is expected to be the peak year in terms of traffic generation at the facility. If all facilities are operating at maximum capacity (worst case), the forecast increase in vehicles using New Illawarra Road during peak hour periods is approximately 1.6%, or a maximum of 63 additional vehicles at this time. Modelling indicates that 96% of vehicles using New Illawarra Road are not associated with this proposal.

For waste delivered from the SUEZ network of facilities, we have invested in High Mass Load trailers which can carry approximately 20% more waste than older trailers. These trailers allow efficient waste transport and reduce the number of truck movements to the park.

A comprehensive traffic assessment has been undertaken as part of the Environmental Impact Statement. It was concluded that the proposal would have no significant impact to traffic in the local area.

Will there be a significant visual impact?

We believe the proposal will have minimal impact on the visual amenity of the area. Views are generally limited due to the distance and vegetation providing screening. In addition, while the site is operational, the perimeter will be screened by planting. 

The final height of the landform will increase by up to eight metres when compared to the current approved landform at the highest point.  The increase in height of the proposed landform would be visible from some surrounding areas. However, the proposal would also see the landform progressively revegetated and rehabilitated to reduce visual impacts.

A full visual impact assessment has been as part of the Environmental Impact Statement, using photo montages. The assessment shows that the difference in appearance compared to what it would look like in 2025 under the existing approval, is not significant. The landfill can only be seen from a distance of a few kilometers away.

Contact us

For further information or to provide your feedback on the Lucas Heights Resource Recovery Park proposal, you can contact our team on 1800 810 680 between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday or email lucas.heights@suez-env.com.au.

1800 810 680
Call

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive updates by email.

*Mandatory fields





By subscribing to receive SITA Australia Updates via email, you agree that SITA Australia may collect, use and disclose the information provided by you in subscribing to or using the service for marketing and promotional purposes. This information will not be made available to any third parties.
2014 Winner Environmental Sustainability