6 October 2023

New landfill measure set to solve Tumut's stinky situation

| Edwina Mason
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Photo of the town of Tumut

The new system installed at Bellettes Landfill at Tumut will capture emissions and burn them with a flare, therefore reducing the odours being released into the air near the town. Image: Tourism NSW.

Tumut residents have their fingers crossed the introduction of a new measure will significantly reduce odours impacting their community in recent months.

A landfill gas capture system – which captures gas from waste to prevent the release of methane into the atmosphere was installed at Bellettes Landfill last week.

The waste management facility, located on Killarney Road at nearby Gilmore, was identified as the source of the odour – which Tumut residents say was so strong it was forcing them to remain indoors – following an investigation by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (NSW EPA).

The EPA has been working with the landfill’s operators since June to respond to reports of hydrogen sulphide/rotten egg odours and has overseen the installation of the new system which will capture emissions and burn them with a flare.

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NSW EPA Executive Director Operations Steve Orr said the new system was now operational.

“When the odours were first reported, the EPA required Belletes Landfill’s owners to put in place several mitigation measures, including restricting the volume and types of waste that could be accepted, covering waste and pumping out and treating leachate,” Mr Orr said.

Mr Orr said the new gas capture system would work in coordination with those measures and actively capture odours before they could form and spread off-site.

He said residents should not be alarmed if they saw flames on the site and could be reassured this was a normal part of the gas capture and flaring system.

“We will continue to monitor the site to ensure all the mitigation measures are working effectively and whether any other control measures may be required,” he said.

Mr Orr thanked the community for their patience during the investigation and while countermeasures were being introduced.

He said the EPA would continue to monitor the situation.

“Hydrogen sulphide has a distinct smell and even low concentrations can be detected,” Mr Orr said.

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In addition to daily inspections at the site, the EPA has 10 gas monitors installed throughout the community, he explained.

The results from this gas monitoring are publicly available on the EPA’s website.

“We will continue to work with Snowy Valleys Council and other NSW Government agencies to ensure these odours are removed and that all works at the landfill are progressing on schedule,” Mr Orr said.

Further information about hydrogen sulphide can be found on the EPA website. This page also links specifically to a page detailing the Tumut odour information and monitoring results.

If you have any queries about the investigation, please contact the 24-hour Environment Line on 131 555 or email [email protected].

Original Article published by Edwina Mason on About Regional.

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