25 July 2023

EPA clearing the air as Tumut stench tracked to waste management site

| Edwina Mason
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Relief in the Tumut community after the source of an offensive odour that’s shrouded the mountain town for the past two weeks is officially identified by the NSW Environment Protection Authority. Photo: Tourism NSW.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has identified the source of recent odours in Tumut as coming from a waste management facility seven kilometres southwest of the town.

The news was unsurprising to the residents, who had used social media to undertake their own detective work, but after a thorough inspection of numerous licensed premises within the Tumut region, the EPA isolated the odour to a site in Killarney Road at Gilmore.

The odours were variously described as emitting a hydrogen sulfide/rotten-egg smell and had generated more than 80 complaints to the EPA since late June.

READ ALSO EPA searches for answers as ghastly odour forces Tumut residents indoors

The EPA confirmed it has issued a clean-up notice to the licensee to undertake immediate works to mitigate the odours.

NSW EPA executive director (operations) Carmen Dwyer said the licensee had been directed to apply immediate cover to the landfill to reduce odours and to engage an expert to provide further engineering recommendations for a long-term solution.

“EPA officers will continue to conduct odour surveys and inspections of the site to ensure all practical measures are implemented,” Ms Dwyer said.

“More work will be required in coming months, but residents should see an improvement over the next few days.”

Ms Dwyer confirmed the EPA would continue to work with SafeWork and Fire and Rescue NSW, which last week attended the site with the EPA to undertake gas monitoring and install gas monitors along the boundary of the premises.

“The source of the odour was difficult to identify because it was so widespread, and I want to thank the community for their patience while multiple inspections occurred,” Ms Dwyer said.

She said the information provided by the community had been crucial to helping the EPA narrow its search and identify the source.

“We encourage people to report any further concerns to our Environment Line,” Ms Dwyer said.

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The EPA would continue its investigations before considering potential regulatory action, and she said NSW Health and SafeWork had been advised of the situation.

Further information about hydrogen sulfide can be found on the EPA website at: Odour investigations (nsw.gov.au)

Anyone with queries about the investigation should contact the 24-hour Environment Line on 131 555 or email [email protected].

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