West Gate Tunnel soil landfill sites approved by EPA Victoria

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Victoria has approved two landfill sites to receive PFAS-contaminated soil from the West Gate Tunnel project.

Initial testing on the West Gate Tunnel Project showed per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, PFAS, could be expected when tunneling begins.

Environment Management Plans (EMP) from Maddingley Brown Coal in Bacchus Marsh and Hi Quality in Bulla have been approved by the EPA as part of their application to receive spoil from the project’s tunnel boring machines (TBM).

On Tuesday September 1, EPA said it had assessed the plans for “potential environmental impacts, such as runoff, odour, and potential land, surface water and ground water risks”.

“The approval of an EMP does not mark the final decision on where the spoil will be sent,” EPA said.

EPA received EMPs from three businesses. At this stage, the state’s environmental regulator has approved EMPs from two of these businesses including Hi-Quality and Maddingley Brown Coal.

It said the owner of a site bidding to receive the TBM spoil must develop and EMP and comply with specific conditions including constructing an appropriate containment system and managing spoil appropriately so risks are controlled.

The EPA will closely monitor these sites to make sure they are complying with their EMP and best practice safety measures to protect the local community and environment.

The discovery of PFAS last year has lead to delays with the major project which is now expected to be complete in 2023, a year later than the original expected completion in 2022.

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