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As of the last Hutchinson Builders – Contaminated Soils Removal Progress Report for the new South Grafton depot, 1,319 trucks have removed almost 45,000 tonnes of asbestos-contaminated soil. Hutchinson Builders have applied to remove a further 10,000 cubic metres (approximately 12,860 tonnes). Image: John Hagger

Extra permit not required for depot soil removal

As of the last Hutchinson Builders – Contaminated Soils Removal Progress Report for the new South Grafton depot, 1,319 trucks have removed almost 45,000 tonnes of asbestos-contaminated soil. Hutchinson Builders have applied to remove a further 10,000 cubic metres (approximately 12,860 tonnes). Image: John Hagger

Hutchinson Builders has advised Clarence Valley Council (CVC) that there is no longer a need to apply to the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP), to increase its permit to dump asbestos-contaminated soil at Swanbank [near Ipswich, Qld].
The soil is being excavated from the former South Grafton sewerage treatment plant, which is the site of CVC’s new depot.
In last week’s Independent it was reported that Hutchinson Builders had applied for an increase in its soils disposal permit, from 35,000m3 to 45,000m3.
However, last week, Hutchinson Builders wrote to CVC’s works and civil director, to tell him that the application was “a prudent measure only, in the event that we were required to remove a larger quantity of soil, as to what was previously estimated”.
The council provided the Independent with a copy of the letter, which continued: “Today we formally withdrew this application following a consultation with EHP, our consultants and third party EPA [NSW Environment Protection Authority] Accredited Auditor.
“[The] project team were cognisant of CVC’s desire to remove the soil and limit the impact on the neighbouring school and didn’t want any delays in the transport of the soils off site due to restrictions imposed by the permit regarding capacity.
“Waste tracking measures are in place and will be for the duration of these removal works, but an extension of our removal works is not deemed necessary.”
The project’s February 3 update states: “A total of 59,729 tonnes of contaminated materials had left site and passed over the Swanbank weigh bridge.
“A total of 1,790 trucks have left site through the decontamination process.”
The total cost of removing the soil is dependent on how many tonnes equates to 35,000 cubic metres.
The Independent has sighted an email from EHP that estimates that soil from the South Grafton site could weigh as much as two tonnes per cubic metre.
Troy Anderson has previously advised that each tonne of contaminate soil costs $70 to dispose of, however, “loading and site works costs are additional” – these costs have not been released by CVC.
These factors place the bill for dumping the material in Queensland, which is significantly cheaper than NSW, at between $4.18million (for 59,729 tonnes) and $4.9million (for 70,000 tonnes).
Meanwhile, the project’s control group has met to discuss the project’s progress; however, the minutes are not yet publically available and will be reported to the February CVC ordinary meeting.

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