Kembla Grange odours

Kembla Grange odours investigation

aerial view of kembla grange

We are monitoring the ongoing environmental performance of regulated facilities in the Farmborough Heights and Kembla Grange areas to ensure premises have controls and practices in place to prevent emissions of offensive odours in accordance with environmental protection licence conditions.

We are undertaking odour surveys of the area and inspections of Whytes Gully Waste Disposal Facility managed by Wollongong City Council (EPL 5862) and Soilco Kembla Grange (EPL 13171).

In response to many odour complaints in the summer of 2020-2021 from residents in Farmborough Heights, we attached conditions to the licences of both facilities in March 2021, requiring an independent odour assessment with reports and recommendations.

The independent odour assessments for Whytes Gully Waste Disposal Facility and Soilco did not identify a particular premises or activity as the source of odour, but recommended the modification of operational and site management practices that could contribute to an reduction of odour impacts in the Kembla Grange Precinct.

The recommendations for the Whytes Gully facility included evaluating the landfill gas management systems and seeking ways to manage potential fugitive gas emissions, upgrading the leachate management system, and updating the air quality and odour management plans. The recommendations for SoilCo included minimising exposed odour sources (such as greenwaste), minimising stockpiled material onsite, minimising the time when the shed doors are opened, minor changes to the biofilter operation, and ensuring any spills of odorous material outside the shed are cleaned up as soon as possible.  We will continue to work with the licensees towards the implementation of these recommendations.

SoilCo has constructed a new facility at 132 West Dapto Road, Kembla Grange (adjacent to the existing site), where the management and control of odours has been a key consideration. The new site is expected to be commissioned shortly.

We will continue to closely monitor the ongoing environmental performance of the regulated facilities to ensure each premises has controls and practices in place to prevent emissions of offensive odours in accordance with environmental protection licence conditions.

Community reports can play an important role in our investigation of odours.

Can the odour affect my health?

Everyone reacts to odours differently and some people can be more sensitive to odours than others. For example, people with asthma. Symptoms can vary depending on your sensitivity, age, state of health, and the frequency, duration, and strength of the odour. If you are sensitive to odours you may experience some symptoms, even at low concentrations which may include  irritation of eyes, nose and throat, headaches, nausea, and shortness of breath. Repeated exposures to odours can also understandably cause anxiety and distress and result in indirect symptoms such as headaches. Symptoms generally occur at the time of exposure and will pass once the odour is gone. However where the odour concentration is high or the duration is extended, some symptoms may persist after the odour is gone.

To minimise exposure to odours, residents are advised to close doors and windows and seal entry points. At times of no, or low odour levels, it is important to ventilate your home to prevent build-up of odours in indoor air.

If residents are concerned about their symptoms or if symptoms persist once the odours have ceased, they should seek advice from their local General Practitioner.

(Information provided by NSW Health)

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