Landfill contamination threatens Central Coast water supply

Mangrove Mountain is a small rural community in the Central Coast hinterland

The battle to save the Central Coast water supply from contaminants leaching from Mangrove mountain landfill entered another stage this week. In a battle involving the Bingo Waste Management company and some smaller local players, the Central Coast Council is now considering submissions from the community to help to inform its application to the Environmental Protection Authority to have the site closed down.

Residents and community advocates claim that the site is not adequately protected and cannot cope with the million tonnes of putrefacting waste that have been dumped there since 2001.  They claim that the waste has the potential to leach through the sandstone aquifer into two creeks that feed into the catchment area of the coast’s main water supply.

The EPA denies that there is an issue; however Steve Goodwin from the Mountain Residents’ Association points to possible long term effects: 

 “It’s a major concern that the EPA would say that their testing at the moment shows that there are no contaminants in the water supply.  That doesn’t prove that there won’t be – there’s the risk.  It’s all about the risk, and these things can move slowly and take years to make their presence felt.  When they do, you can’t turn the tap off then – it’s too It’s about the water.  Not just now but for future generations.”  

The catalyst for the dumping began when the local golf course applied to Gosford Council to expand from a nine hole to an eighteen hole course using a few small deposits of inert fill.  The site is  located at a high point in the catchment.  The Council gave consent for 240,000 tonnes of clean fill to deposited but over ten years the waste continued to come.  The fill morphed from clean to prohibited material, including chemically treated timber.  As the pits were set up for clean fill they had no protective lining, allowing leaching to occur.

The site was the subject of a Four Corners investigation into mismanagement in the waste industry in 2017.

Health concerns for Central Coast residents don’t end with the Mangrove Mountain site.  Dust from approved concrete recycling operations in neighbouring Somersby is staring to emerge as the next potential hazard. 

(Note to Nick:  the quote is about six minutes into the interview)

Sources:

Dr Steve Goodwin, Mountain Districts Association.  Interview Recorded 25 March 2019

ABC Four Corners program “Trashed” 7 August 2017, https://www.abc.net.au/4corners/trashed/8770146

Central Coast Gosford Express Advocate and Daily Telegraph: Mangrove Mountain Landfill: March 29, 2018

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