Page 4267 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 October 1991

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necessary to do so. I am not sure that I do now. It was withdrawn, I would expect - and I say "expect" because I did not inquire further - by the Territory planner, who would have had responsibility for carrying that. If you want me to get a bit more detail, I certainly will.

Mr Moore: Yes, please.

West Belconnen Landfill Site - Water Discharge

MR JENSEN: My question also is addressed to Minister Wood in his capacity of Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning. I remind him of recent publicity about the discharge of water from the Belconnen landfill site into the Murrumbidgee River. Firstly, will he make available the details of the licence granted to the Department of Urban Services to discharge water into the Murrumbidgee River system? Secondly, why was the Minister so sure that no toxic material was discharged into the river system? Thirdly, were tests conducted at the time of the discharge, or soon after, to ensure that the conditions of the licence were being met and that no toxic waste was being discharged?

MR WOOD: Mr Jensen, yes, I will give you details of the licence requirements. Because there has been a replacement, new licence conditions are now being imposed. I will get you a copy of the 12 or so pages of that licence. Why was I sure that there was no toxic substance? The briefing that I received, which was a quite detailed one, indicated to me that testing had been done on the holding tank for the surface run-off at the Belconnen tip. There are three different dams, if you like, at that tip, as I am informed: One takes sullage, which comes in a particular way - grease trap stuff and that sort of thing; one takes the leachate that comes through underground; and one is no more than taking the surface run-off, holding it as long as possible to allow sedimentation to occur. You would understand that run-off from a tip has lots of mud mixed up with it because that is the nature of the tip. They are the three dams.

The information that I have is that, prior to releasing the very muddy water from that dam that takes the surface run-off, tests were taken. The taking of the tests was approved, and that was organised by the Department of Urban Services. They indicated that that water could be released. Even the released water, despite the time it had been settling, was obviously quite muddy. I was not aware that any toxic substance, certainly on this occasion, was being released. I understand that some weeks, or even months, ago that sullage dam was breached in a period of heavy rain and some of that mixture flowed down to that surface dam. In that case there was the potential for some toxic substance to be released; but, as I am informed, that was not the case on this occasion.

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