MEDIA RELEASE: 17 July 2008
Last night, teams from Council and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) visited a number of households in the Brookland Greens Estate to talk to residents, due to the new EPA position in relation to landfill gas levels in residential areas. Last week the EPA revised its position to reduce the acceptable level of methane in residential areas from 2.5% to 1%.
All residents were offered the option of having their house tested for the presence of gas. All houses that were tested other than two recorded a zero reading. One had a reading of 0.1% requiring no immediate action. However, another dwelling test initially showed a reading of 2.4% which, last week, would have triggered further investigation but not evacuation; though this week exceeded the EPA’s new trigger for evacuation. When a further assessment was undertaken, no traces of landfill gas were found.
According to City of Casey Mayor Cr Janet Halsall, while Council is supportive of adopting a precautionary approach, it was surprised by the EPA’s sudden decision to revise its position.
“Public safety is our primary concern. Naturally, the Brookland Green residents would be concerned about the possibility of the presence of gas in their homes. However, most of them were reassured by the visit and understanding the situation has been caused by the new EPA position rather than a change in the level of gas emissions from the landfill site. The testing helped to reassure them.
‘Feedback I have received also indicates that residents were not only appreciative of the personal visit by the EPA/Council teams but were also extremely cooperative, already being familiar with Council’s ongoing restoration works at the landfill through regular newsletter updates and several community information meetings held.
‘Council has spent more than $4 million on the restoration efforts and will continue to invest time and resources in working with the EPA to manage the situation.
‘These new guidelines could have an impact across many landfill sites in Victoria. Casey is only the first Council to be affected by them’, added Cr Halsall.
Visits to Brookland Green residents will continue this week and a community information session will be held later in July.