Mangrove Mountain landfill in court
18 November 2019: The Environmental Defenders Office (EDO) has welcomed the commencement of a hearing in the NSW Land and Environment Court concerning the alleged unauthorised expansion of a landfill site at Mangrove Mountain on the Central Coast.
For several years, EDO has been advising the Mountain Districts Association (MDA), a not-for-profit local community group, in relation to alleged illegal dumping at the site. Central Coast Council is now taking action against the landfill operator, Verde Terra Pty Ltd and the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for its failure to prevent the alleged illegal dumping. The hearing is expected to run for three weeks.
Mangrove Mountain Landfill, a 30 minute drive from Gosford, first rose to national attention in a Four Corners program aired in August 2017 about the state of the waste industry throughout Australia. The landfill is located atop the Kulnura-Mangrove Mountain groundwater source which provides drinking water to the Central Coast community. The community has expressed strong fears for the future health of this water source if landfill leachate contaminates it.
Since 2015, MDA has expressed its concern, to both the former Gosford City Council, now Central Coast Council, and the EPA, that the site was never assessed for development as a regional waste facility, and had never been assessed for the environmental impact of this activity.
Our client is pleased to see that this matter has now come before an independent arbiter.
Dr Stephen Goodwin of the MDA said, “Through the hard work of the Environmental Defenders Office, Mountain Districts Association has been able to bring its concerns about statutory failings at Mangrove Mountain Landfill to Central Coast Council and its predecessor Gosford City Council, and to the NSW Environment Protection Authority.
“Mountain Districts Association is certain that EDO’s legal representation supporting our hard work over many years has contributed to this matter ending up in the Land and Environment Court. Without this effort, Mountain Districts Association has little doubt that the landfill would have resumed importing huge quantities of waste, with little regard for the safety of the groundwater and underlying aquifer supplying the Central Coast’s drinking water.”
Dr Stephen Goodwin continued, “Our rural community is outraged that an unlined landfill of this magnitude has been allowed to develop on top of our groundwater aquifer and that twice as much waste again may be permitted to be imported in the future. The residents of the Central Coast are also living in fear that their water supply may become contaminated with toxic chemicals. When many regional and rural communities are battling diminishing water supplies, it has been frustrating that government and industry have seemed unconcerned about protecting the health of ours.”
“MDA is pleased to see this long-running dispute in Court where it has a chance for a satisfactory outcome for the community”, Dr Goodwin said. “The ongoing support of the EDO will help to ensure that the community’s interests and concerns over its groundwater and regional drinking water supply and the threat posed to it by Mangrove Mountain Landfill continue to be heard.”