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Landfills approved for contaminated West Gate Tunnel soil

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Two landfills have been approved to receive contaminated soil from the West Gate Tunnel project, following the discovery of PFAS at the tunnelling site last year.

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

The discovery of PFAS 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.

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

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

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

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 landfills to make sure they are complying with their EMP and best practice safety measures to protect the local community and environment.

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