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Biosolid code an issue for councils

Tuesday, 20th November, 2018

Heard of biosolids? Here's why a new code proposing to further limit their use is an issue for councils and communities.

Biosolids are wastewater treated and dewatered to produce an organic sludge with the potential to be recycled as fertiliser.
 
They’ve found success in drought-stricken areas and are often used to improve pastures and build paddocks with greater climate resistance. 
 
In Queensland, it’s estimated that 77,000 tons of biosolids is produced each year.

Why is the new proposed code problematic?

Currently 90% of all biosolids are beneficially reused – however a new code proposed by the State Government threatens this continued positive use. If approved in its current form the new code will force councils to send all biosolids to landfill.
 
It’s a move which would be completely at odds with the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to building a circular economy and advancing towards a zero-waste future.
 
The way in which biosolids are defined as a ‘resource’, the conditions that will increase costs to councils to continue to use biosolids in a useful way, and the inability to blend biosolids to further enhance their useability are all issues in the new code.
 
The LGAQ’s representative on the technical advisory panel helping draft the code, Fraser Coast Councillor Anne Maddern said that if these matters were not addressed, councils would be forced to place biosolids into landfill – at a cost.
 
“It’s important that the Government understands the implications of the draft code, and the likelihood of an outcome opposed to the Government’s stated intention to reduce the amount of waste”, she said.
 
Councillor Maddern also called for the 30-day time period councils were given to respond to the new code be extended.

Will we need to pay more to dispose of our poo?

Maybe. According to the LGAQ, biosolids are not excluded from the impending waste levy in Queensland.
 
It’s estimated that if councils need to dispose of biosolids to landfills, it will add more than $10M a year to the cost to provide these services to Queensland communities.

What can councils do?

  • Comment on the new End of waste (EOW framework) by 29th November 2018
  • Provide the LGAQ with feedback and comments on the new code to incorporate into a whole-of-local government submission by emailing the LGAQ’s Water and Sewage Infrastructure Lead Arron Hieatt on ask@lgaq.asn.au 
  • Write to Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Hon Leeanne Enoch outlining the implications for your council

Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006


 

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