12 May 2022

Council waste services disrupted across southern NSW

| Claire Fenwicke
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Paint cans

Hold onto oils, paints and aerosols – a fire at a Sydney waste processing plant has created complications. Photo: Eurobodalla Council.

Southern NSW communities have been urged to hold onto certain waste items following a chemical fire at a Sydney processing plant.

Solvent ignited at Cleanaway’s St Marys facility on 19 April, damaging specialised equipment used to process waste.

The NSW Environment Protection Agency (EPA) said impacted items included flammable and water-based paint, flammable solvents, aerosols and other automotive and household items.

“Cleanaway believes it will take a minimum of three months to repair the machine,” an EPA statement said.

Numerous regional councils use Cleanaway to collect waste from Community Recycling Centres (CRC), including Queanbeyan-Palerang (QPRC), Bega, Eurobodalla and Wagga Wagga City councils.

A QPRC spokesperson asked residents to keep hold of the impacted items for now.

“The materials accepted at CRCs are of low toxicity and households generally only generate small amounts at any one time,” they said.

“These products can be safely stored at home if you follow manufacturer directions.”

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Eurobodalla residents were also asked to hold onto waste oils, paints and aerosols rather than taking them to the Surf Beach tip.

Eurobodalla Council’s waste services manager Nathan Ladmore added automotive coolant, wax and brake fluid to the list.

“As storage at Surf Beach Waste Management Facility is already reaching capacity, we had to make the decision to stop accepting these items until collection resumes,” he said.

“In the meantime, please don’t put these harmful chemicals down the drain, into the environment or your household bins.

“Please store them safely at home until the CRC is fully operational again or you can take them to the Household Chemical Cleanout later in the year.”

Batteries, cooking oil, motor oil, mobile phones, fluorescent light globes/tubes, empty drumMUSTER chemical drums and empty gas bottles can still be dropped off at Eurobodalla’s CRC for free.

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Bega Valley Shire Council region was also impacted with locals asked to keep such items at home.

“The change is immediate and applies to the Merimbula Waste Transfer Station CRC and the mobile CRC that visits other waste facilities in the Bega Valley Shire,” a council statement said.

Wagga Wagga City Council is another Cleanaway client, but council business manager Darryl Woods said waste management had not been impacted there.

“At this stage Gregadoo Waste Management Centre will continue to take CRC waste items as we have short term storage options,” he said.

Waste services for Goulburn-Mulwaree Council and Snowy Monaro Regional Council residents have not been impacted.

A Cleanaway spokesperson said NSW EPA had confirmed it could resume waste collection services, however no timeline had yet been given.

Hilltops Council and Yass Council have been contacted for comment.

About Regional also contacted NSW EPA for further clarification about the resumption of services.

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