The operators of Perth’s largest waste facility have appealed to the state government to let it resume treating waste despite not having implemented odour-controlling equipment.
In March, the Department of Environment and Conservation gave the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council two weeks to stop admitting new waste into its Regional Resource Recovery Centre because of unacceptable levels of odour coming from the site.
It was expected to have processed all waste at the Canning Vale facility in the next eight weeks.
Department director general Kevin McNamara said a new licence allowing the council to recommence treating waste would be considered after it installed new odour-treatment equipment.
The council has appealed against the decision and requested it be allowed to resume waste treatment without the new equipment so it can fund the required improvements and avoid severe financial repercussions.
Acting council chief executive Tim Youe said the current directive from the department to close the plant would “almost inevitably lead to the permanent closure of the facility”.
Mr Youe said the effect of the current condition was a halt on all income derived from the facility, and put the council at risk of insolvency.
“In addition, it will be extremely difficult for the SMRC to raise the funds required for planned capital works required to address odour concerns if it has no operating income and no environmental protection licence to operate a facility,” he said in a letter to the department requesting an amendment to its licence.
A department spokesperson told WA Business News the council’s request was open for a three-week public submission period, after which a decision on whether to allow the facility to reopen would be made.
The council said it would operate at 65 per cent of capacity if allowed to reopen in order to reduce potential odour. It would also stop processing green waste over the hottest months and address how it handled and assessed green waste. It would aim to install primary odour-treatment equipment before December 15.