This page has been updated as of 9am 29 May 2020.
On 30 January 2020 The Federal and NSW Governments announced they would share the costs on a 50:50 basis for the clean-up of residential and commercial properties destroyed by the bushfires of 2019-20 summer.
The NSW Government selected Laing O’Rourke Australia as the lead contractor to undertake the clean-up.
Prior to waste being removed from sites, assessments and the safe removal of asbestos needed to be undertaken. Shoalhaven City Council in conjunction with Laing O’Rourke Australia has been working since 9 March to clear the bushfire affected waste from our local region and will continue to do so until completion.
For background information on the assessment process, asbestos removal and management plan for bushfire affected waste go here. http://doc.shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au/DisplayDoc.aspx?record=D20/149693
Bushfire Waste Processing in Action!
West Nowra Bushfire Recycling Processing Plant has been established since mid February and the Bushfire Waste Recovery Team have been working tirelessly to clean up the great volumes of waste that have been delivered to the Depot.
The job is enormous but it’s only matched by the efforts of the team.
What are we receiving as bushfire affected waste?
Up to 24 May we have accepted about 15,588 tonnes of bushfire clean up waste from 216 Shoalhaven (non-asbestos cement) homes. Demolition waste from an estimated 300 homes is expected to be processed at West Nowra. About 70% of the waste is being recycled.
All Asbestos Containing Material is being transported to a facility outside of the Shoalhaven for safe disposal.
Where is the bushfire waste coming from?
Liang O’Rourke have to date cleared sites in Shoalhaven bushfire affected areas including; Kangaroo Valley, Conjola, Nowra Hill, Sassafras, Tomerong, Sussex Inlet and Yatte Yattah.
Recycling: an excellent outcome!
We were aiming to recycle 50% of the bushfires affected waste through our Processing Plant. The good news is we are far exceeding that rate! We are achieving an incredible recycling rate of more than 70% of the received waste.
Recyclable material includes metals, concrete, bricks and fines.
These materials will be used for road construction and hardstand construction.
Fines, generally consist of soil and dust from the concrete and bricks which is used as daily cover on the landfill.
Stories from our staff at the processing site
VIDEO: Meet team members and what they are doing behind-the-scenes here.
From bushfires to Covid-19
Bushfire recovery is an essential activity that will improve the welfare of the affected community and waste management is a priority area. Council have allocated two teams, solely dedicated to the function of processing bushfire demolition waste and recycling as much material as possible.
Like every workforce, the restrictions surrounding Covid-19 has presented challenges to our teams. However, awareness and application of work safety protocols has always been of high importance to our staff. Their ability to incorporate ‘another layer’ of safety procedures into their daily work routine has been done efficiently and successfully.
Some of the new Covid-19 safety measures include:
- Teams working independently of each person on one machine
- Cabins and all touch surfaces are washed with disinfectant before and after operating.
- Social distancing across all areas on site
Keeping our workforce safe and healthy is paramount and our teams are committed to working through this recovery process as quickly as possible to allow homeowners who have lost their homes in the fires, to start rebuilding their lives.
Following Council's Extra-Ordinary Meeting of 7 April 2020, Council resolved to cancel the current free green waste tipping period (due to end on the 30 April 2020) at midnight on the 7 April 2020 to encourage compliance with NSW Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020, and reassess the situation if required after the COVID19 non-essential travel restrictions are lifted.