Ipswich Residents Against Toxic Environments president Jim Dodrill.
Ipswich Residents Against Toxic Environments president Jim Dodrill. Rob Williams

Residents crying foul over proposed waste facility

MEMBERS of a residents action group are raising their voices in opposition to the establishment of a new Ipswich waste facility, concerned with the proximity to homes.

A resource recovery centre at New Chum has been proposed by Jackal Renewables.

The company want to develop the subject site over time into a recycling hub with an integrated resource centre and waste-to-energy cogeneration plant.

Activities undertaken at the site would include the manufacturing of mineral mulch and EasySpread from fibre cement by-product and the treatment of acid sulphate soils.


A waste transfer station for construction and demolition waste streams would be established, as would a co-generation plant to produce electricity.

The window for submissions and objections to be sent to Ipswich City Council closes today.

Jackal renewables director Rob Howe said the centre would take waste generated and "save it from Ipswich's landfill" in an effort to reduce demand for new landfill sites in the area.

The small family-owned company has been operating locally for a decade, primarily recycling cement sheeting into agricultural soil enhancer.

Mr Howe said the company had always operated as "a good neighbour and with a clear conscience."

He believes the centre would establish Ipswich as a key player in renewables' processing.

"We work in the circular economy; our aim is to take waste and re-use or recycle it to create a positive environmental balance," Mr Howe said.

"We are in the business of resource recycling. We are also the landowner and it is in our best interest to look after our own backyard.

"Every aspect of our business is heavily scrutinised by many levels of government and we have always ensured that we not only meet environmental regulations but sit well under the compliance limits.

"Our air modelling and noise studies confirm we will be within the environmental compliance guidelines. We ensured the modelling involved land zoned for future residential use; not just the areas currently occupied by homes."

The energy needed to run the operation will be produced on-site and the company aims to grow a team of five people to 11 local roles in the next few years.

Ipswich Residents Against Toxic Environment president Jim Dodrill said the big issue was the location of the facility.

"It's only 500-600m from, not one house, but literally hundreds of homes in Collingwood Park," Mr Dodrill said.

"I don't want to come across, and nor does anyone in the group, as anti-industry or anti-development.

"But there's a right and a wrong place to put these things. It's totally unsuitable. It can be approached from the New Chum industrial area but it also backs onto a residential area in Collingwood Park."

He said the potential impact on nearby residents and the environment, particularly Six Mile Creek, if the operation did not follow regulations were fuelling the objections.

"They'll be creating air pollution... and it's a type of air pollution that has the potential to adversely affect people's health," he said.

"They're also talking bringing in 100s of tonnes at a time of acid sulphate soil.

"As you take it out of water and expose it to air it crates sulphuric acid. That sulphuric acid has the potential to leech into the ground and into Six Mile Creek because the site actually backs onto the creek.

"Sulphuric acid will wipe out any fish life, anything that's in the creek. Where there have been acid sulphate leaks into creeks around the world it has caused devastation in the water ways."

Mr Howe said their modelling studies confirmed the project will be within the environmental compliance guidelines.

"If we, as a society, don't do anything to embrace industrial ecology, we are left with a bleak future of searching for the next landfill site," he said.

"We won't accept any materials onto the site that have an offensive odour.

"Acid sulfate soil brought to our site for treatment will be neutralised using cement sheet products, creating a high-quality soil.

"Our stormwater studies have confirmed that all run-off from the processing areas, including areas where acid sulfate soil will be treated, will be captured by the existing clay pit on site. There will be no run-off into Six Mile Creek. Any water accumulated in our clay pit will be regularly monitored."