Whitsunday Regional Council have opened public submissions for a biosolids storage facility as part of council's biosolids renewal scheme that would see up to 2000 tonnes of waste from landfill diverted to sugarcane and grazing properties in the Proserpine area.
Whitsunday Regional Council have opened public submissions for a biosolids storage facility as part of council's biosolids renewal scheme that would see up to 2000 tonnes of waste from landfill diverted to sugarcane and grazing properties in the Proserpine area.

Using waste to grow wonders in Proserpine

A PROPOSED biosolids storage facility in Proserpine could turn a once-wasted resource into food for crops and a saving for ratepayers.

Whitsunday Regional Council have put an application for a biosolids storage facility on public notification as part of council's biosolids renewal scheme that would see up to 2000 tonnes of waste from landfill diverted to sugarcane and grazing properties in the Proserpine area.

Under the scheme, biosolids, or organic matter recycled from sewage, from the Cannonvale and Proserpine sewage treatment plants would be transported to the site and stored before being distributed to farms in Proserpine and used as fertiliser.

Whitsunday Regional Council's co-ordinator of natural resource management Scott Hardy said the project could, quite literally, turn trash into treasure.

"Our view is that biosolids is a resource, and at the moment council produces somewhere around 2500 cubic metres of biosolids a year which is going to landfill," he said.

"It turns out biosolids are quite high in nutrients, so they can be good to use as a fertiliser.

"This is a good sustainability project where instead of just discarding a resource, we're using it in a positive way to save money for the community and provide an extra resource for farmers."

A map of the proposed site for the biofuel storage facility.
A map of the proposed site for the biofuel storage facility.

The site of the proposed Biosolids Storage Facility is in the old gravel pit quarry on Lascelles Rd 9km south of Proserpine.

The closest residential house is located 1.9km away from the proposed site while the Whitsunday Coast Airport sits 1.4km away.

However, Mr Hardy said a smell wafting from the facility should not be an issue as the sewage treatment plant upgrades meant there was less odour in biosolids.

Another risk identified by council was the potential for more birds to be attracted to the site as biosolids attract earthworms and other food for birds.

Mr Hardy said tarps would be laid over the storage area to prevent more birds entering the flight path of incoming planes.

The need for a storage facility was identified as especially important during the wet season where the use of biosolids on farming properties is limited because of the weather.

The storage area will also assist with the breakdown of biosolids.

During the dry season, biosolids can be transported straight from sewage treatment plants and the proposed storage facility to surrounding farms.

The Biosolids Storage Facility site plan.
The Biosolids Storage Facility site plan.

Mr Hardy said beyond the benefit to farmers, redirecting biosolids would also provide a saving for ratepayers.

"It does cost council money to dispose biosolids at landfill, they pay money to the State Government … which costs the ratepayer," he said.

"Keeping biosolids out of landfill and treating it as resource and putting it on cane land will benefit a small number of canegrowers, and also the community will benefit from the project by reduced waste to landfill."

The proposed site is listed for community consultation on Whitsunday Regional Council's website and Mr Hardy said there would be a long process before works started.

"There are strict Queensland Government regulations around how to manage biosolids because we want to make sure that it's done properly," he said.

"One of the steps has been that we need to test biosolids regularly, which we have been doing, then we have to select suitable cane farms which can take biosolids.

"We think the proposed facility is a good site, but we will be going through a bit more of a community consultation process before we select canefarmers and enter into agreements with canefarmers."

Plans are also in the works for a biosolids storage facility in other parts of the region.


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