In February 2010 the EPA conducted testing for landfill gas in homes in the Seacliff, Kingston Park and Marino area.
No landfill gas has been found in homes and the Seacliff Primary School.
The area where testing occurred was approximately 1 km2, bordered by Pine Avenue, Brighton Road, Sherlock Road, and extending south along Angas Crescent and Keith Crescent to North Street.
Landfill gas was detected underground on the site of a former landfill which operated between the 1950s and 1970s, located near Scholefield Drive. Testing was conducted to confirm that the gas had not migrated below ground to nearby homes.
The EPA will work with councils to conduct further investigations of the landfill and determine what actions need to be put in place to manage gas at the site.
Residents of the area, including those who were not home at the time of testing, can continue to contact the information line on 1800 729 175 during business hours.
- Media release, 18 February 2010
- Media release, 23 February 2010
- Seacliff, Marino, Kingston Park landfill gas sampling area
What is landfill gas?
Landfill gas (LFG) is created when organic waste in landfill decomposes. This gas consists of about 50 percent methane (the primary component of natural gas), about 50 percent carbon dioxide (CO2), and a small amount of non-methane organic compounds (NMOCs).
Methane is flammable and explosive in concentrations between 5% and 15% of the total volume of air.
Landfill gas is most dangerous in enclosed spaces because it can become very concentrated, displacing oxygen from the air and causing fainting or suffocation.
Is my family or home at risk from landfill gas?
For landfill gas to pose a risk of this type, a number of circumstances would need to occur at the same time, such as the gas having migrated underground to areas where people live and work, and the gas to occur in sufficiently high concentrations and high volumes in a confined space. In these circumstances, it could pose a risk of explosion if there is an ignition source, in the same way that leaving a gas appliance running in a closed room could do. Gas in well-ventilated areas and outdoors is unlikely to pose a risk.
The waste deposited historically around the Seacliff Park area is many decades old. As a precaution and in response to recent monitoring conducted by third parties that has shown there is still some gas being generated within the waste body, we are conducting further testing outside of the waste body. These further investigations will assist in determining whether there is any ongoing risk outside of the waste body and whether there is any urgent or further action required.
What areas are affected?
Records show that a landfill site was managed by the former Brighton Council and received waste approximately from the 1950s to the 1970s. Typically, landfills cease generating gas about 30 years after landfilling stops, but the rate of gas generation can depend on the nature of the waste, the time since the waste was deposited and conditions in the landfill such as moisture and oxygen levels.
Gas can travel through the soil, in unpredictable paths, so the EPA has recommend as a precaution that testing be conducted not just the site of the landfill itself, but in a wider area which includes parts of Marino, Kingston Park and Seacliff Park. This testing was conducted previously, however it is being done again given there are still some pockets of gas evident within the waste.
The area being sampled is approximately 1 km2 bordered by Pine Avenue, Brighton Road and the railway line, extending south along Douglas Crescent and Keith Crescent to North Street.
How much is known about the gas coming from the Seacliff Park site?
Investigations showed elevated landfill gas levels within the waste body. This information indicated that despite the age of the waste, there are still be some pockets of waste that are decomposing and producing gas. Therefore, further investigations were undertaken to determine whetherany offsite migration posed a safety risk. The EPA is ensuring every precaution is taken by conducting monitoring. Testing of inspection pits and utilities has indicated that there is a very low likelihood of any risk, but further measures are going to be taken in addition to those that have already been conducted.
How do you go about detecting gas?
Special gas meters are used that can detect low levels of gas within seconds of taking a reading. The meters are placed in likely places of accumulation (eg utilities pits and basements). In the unlikely event that there are any concerns, the MFS will manage the steps that are required for immediate protection of people and the environment.
What if landfill gas is found in my home or business?
The EPA and the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS), accompanied by council, visited homes in the potentially affected areas to conduct tests. Consent from you or the owner is required to allow tests to occur. If landfill gas readings are found in your home, officers will discuss with you what steps may need to be taken. This advice may vary from property to property.
The MFS will coordinate the temporary relocation of any occupants in the unlikely event that this is necessary.
How will the problem be fixed and how long will it take?
This will depend on the results of the monitoring, which will be available within seconds after a reading is taken. The immediate priority was to make sure there are no dangerous gas levels in homes, businesses or community facilities.
There are a range of techniques used to remove gas from landfills. Gas can be removed by passive ventilation particularly as much of the waste body is very old, which generally means minimal gas should be generated. However if there are larger pockets or volumes of gas (though this is believed to be unlikely given the age of the waste), other control methods can be explored. The main management approach will be to contain and manage any gas to prevent it impacting on businesses and homes.
Who are the responsible authorities and what are their roles?
The EPA coordinated the immediate response with cooperation from the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS) which assisted with testing, and officers from Marion and Holdfast Bay Councils.
The EPA’s role is to provide expert advice and facilitate action to prevent or control adverse impacts. Any emergency situation will, in the first instance, be managed by the MFS.
What will happen if you don’t find gas in our area?
Regardless of whether any elevated levels are found, the EPA will work with council to ensure steps are put in place to manage the old landfill area and any potential gas emissions and, if necessary, conduct remediation works.
If I live in the Marino/Seacliff Park area, what should I do?
The EPA, council and MFS officers visited people who lived in the sampling area. If you live nearby and have concerns, you can call the information hotline staffed by EPA officers on 1800 729 175, read the information provided, and make the EPA aware of your concerns.
For site contamination related enquiries, please contact the EPA on 1800 729 175 or email.