New investigation to zero in on Ipswich's big stink

UNPLEASANT smells will be put under the microscope in a new government investigation targeting composting businesses in Swanbank, documents reveal.

The State Government is about to launch a detailed investigation into potential sources of odour and to determine exactly which materials are being used in composting operations.

The investigation, to be led by an independent consultant, will target companies producing 200t or more compost or soil conditioners in a year.

This week, the Department of Environment and Science released a tender, calling for an independent consultant to review the compost industry.

It comes after a "considerable number" of complaints were lodged with the Department regarding odours from Ipswich residents.

The tender documents state concerns have also been raised about the type of material being used in composting operations.

Determining exactly what materials are being accepted by Swanbank composting businesses is a major focus of the new project, along with a review of the current standard for waste acceptance in composting industries.

Specifically, the successful tenderer will be tasked with critically reviewing aspects of the compost industry, to find the source of the odour.

A report detailing findings, along with recommendations about potential changes to environmental regulations will be compiled as part of the project.

To fulfill the tender requirements, "an investigation of composting operations within the Swanbank Industrial Area must be conducted", the tender documents state.

For years residents have been complaining of foul odours in Ripley, Swanbank, New Chum and Collingwood Park, although the smell is reportedly not exclusive to those areas.

Between October and December, 46 complaints from 26 members of the public were lodged with the State Government's Environment Department.

According to the department, most of those complaints came from Ripley, South Ripley, Flinders View and Redbank Plains.

In 2016, the Environment Department slapped two operators with three fines of $11,780 each.

One of those, issued in October to an operator at Swanbank, was successfully appealed in court and the fine ultimately withdrawn.

In September 2016, two fines were also issued to an operator at Tivoli.

There are several activities within the Swanbank area with the potential to produce the type of odour being reported, including two commercial composters and three landfills.

Tenders for the latest project close on July 17 with the contract due to end in April 2019.

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