Barro’s licence suspended

Kealba landfill. (EPA Victoria)

Tara Murray

Barro Group’s licence to operate the Kealba landfill has been suspended.

The Environment Protection Authority last week announced that the licence had been suspended due to breaches caused by ongoing hotspots and odour impacting nearby residents.

The suspension follows a notice of intention to suspend issued by the EPA in July, alleging Barro was in contravention of its operating licence due to the odour impacts of the hotspots.

Barro Group and the EPA are currently involved in legal action in the Supreme Court regarding Barro’s request for an extension to a clean up notice that was issued by the EPA.

Hotspots have burned at the site for almost two years, prompting residents to call for the site to be permanently shut down.

Since the hotspot fires started, Barro has been issued with five clean up notices and a noise notice, while they have received two sanctions.

Barro voluntarily ceased accepting waste at the site in December.

Barro can’t accept waste until EPA is satisfied contravention of its licence has been rectified.

EPA chief executive Lee Miezis said the EPA had received more than 900 pollution reports about the landfill from residents.

“We have had clean-up notices on this site since December 2019,” he said.

“This is not acceptable to the residents or EPA.

“We will continue to regulate until the company fully extinguishes all hotspots and prevents them from reoccurring in the future, while ensuring there would be no financial cost to the community.

“Protecting the health and wellbeing of the residents and the environment is our first priority and we will continue to use whatever powers we have to make sure the hotspots are extinguished as quickly and safely as possible.’’