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Publications archive - Hazardous waste

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Hazardous Waste Technical Group - 54th meeting

Monday 24 June 2002
8.30 am – 4.30 pm
Daylesford/Ballarat Room, Hilton Melbourne Airport

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Minutes

Present:

Chair

Professor Paul Greenfield

Members

Dr Paul Brown
Dr Peter Di Marco
Mr John Hogan
Mr Stephen Moore
Dr Peter Nadebaum
Dr Peter Scaife
Dr Neill Stacey

Observer

Dr Peter Brotherton

Secretariat

Mr Bob Angel
Dr Greg Rippon
Dr Geoff Thompson

Apologies

Dr Robyn Eckersley
Ms Diane Kovacs
Mr James Johnson
Dr Jennifer Stauber

Agenda Item 1. Draft Minutes of the 53rd meeting

1. 1. The meeting adopted the draft Minutes.

Agenda Item 2. Matters arising

2. Robyn Eckersley had advised that she would be unlikely to be able to attend meetings until later in the year because her other commitments were particularly heavy at present. The meeting proposed that James Johnson should be invited to continue to attend as a coopted expert in Robyn's absence.

Agenda Item 3. Progress report on operation of the Hazardous Waste Act

(a) Permit report for previous twelve months

3. In regard to the permit granted to Simsmetal Limited for waste lead-acid batteries to transit Australia while on their way from Papua New Guinea to Indonesia, Paul Brown enquired whether the Department of the Environment and Heritage knew anything about the receiving Indonesian facility. Geoff Thompson replied that nothing was known about the facility and the requirements of the Act related only to the management of the waste while in transit through Australia. Paul Brown asked the Department of the Environment and Heritage to advise Simsmetal Limited to be more aware of the problems that the receiving facility might face in managing waste lead-acid batteries in an environmentally sound manner.

Agenda Item 4. Technical issues arising from applications and inquiries

(a) Proposed export of spent potlinings

(i). Hazardous waste act policy reference group. Thirtieth meeting: 4 June 2001. Agenda item 7(c) Application to export spent potlinings to Italy for recovery

(ii). Hazardous waste act policy reference group. Minutes 30th meeting

(iii). E-mail from Tomago to the Department of the Environment and Heritage

4. The competent authority in Italy had advised that they considered the Australian notification to be incomplete, and they had not responded to it for that reason. Since more than a year had passed and a new notification was needed, it might be best to refuse the permit on the grounds that no consent had been granted. This would be without prejudice to the outcome of any future application.

5. The Group re–considered the advice that it had adopted at its 46th meeting, on 11 May 2001, and agreed to add the words "of the date on which the application is received" to the end of the last paragraph.

(b) Possible import of POPs wastes (oral)

(c) Possible import of Flue-gas Desulphurisation Gypsum to rehabilitate land

6. There was no discussion of these items

(d) Proposed import of industrial waste water treatment sludge

(i). Letter from NSW EPA on proposed import

(ii). Letter to applicant

7. Information supplied by the applicant indicated that the material proposed for import was primarily a mixture of calcium phosphate and calcium sulphate derived from plant effluent from the main Cheminova herbicide production facility. The information stated that the low content of toxic heavy metals meant that the waste was a very useful fertiliser.

8. Although the notification form identified the material as OECD amber-listed waste AC270, sewage sludge, it may be more appropriate to classify it as AD020, wastes from the production, formulation, and use of biocides and phytopharmaceuticals. The applicant stated that the material did not possess any hazardous characteristics, but since the waste is amber-listed, sufficient evidence must be presented to rebut the presumption that the waste is hazardous.

9. The Department of the Environment and Heritage had requested more detailed technical information on the origin and production process of the material, particularly on the composition of the Cheminova effluent and the biological process used in breaking down the organic component of the waste.

10. The meeting noted that there were no Australian guidelines for glyphosate or organophosphate pesticides in contaminated soil, neither was there a generic guideline for organophosphates. Without such guidelines it was not possible to decide that the material was not hazardous, and it would be difficult to set appropriate conditions for use. The Danish EPA had set a maximum limit for application of this material to land to ensure that soil was not contaminated by herbicides such as glyphosate. The meeting advised the Secretariat to seek more information from Denmark, including a full analysis and a mass balance.

(e) Proposed export of used lead-acid batteries to New Zealand

11. The meeting discussed the draft Statement of Advice concerning the application for the export of used lead-acid batteries (ULABs) by Exide Australia Pty Ltd (Exide) to New Zealand. There were four issues to address in relation to the relevant parts of the Hazardous Waste (Regulation of Exports and Imports) (OECD Decision) Regulations 1996 (the Regulations). These were:

12. The meeting also noted that:

13. The meeting concluded that:

(a) ARA could process the ULABs, proposed for export, in Australia.

(b) An effective collection system is likely to continue in Australia whether a permit is granted or not.

(c) If a permit is refused, the effects on the collection and processing of ULABs in New Zealand are uncertain.

(d) The environmental benefits and disbenefits do not differ significantly whether or not a permit is granted.

14. Taking these considerations together, the Technical Group concluded that refusing the permit would be consistent with Australia's obligations under the Basel Convention. Refusal would implement the Article 4.2(d) obligation to reduce the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes to the minimum consistent with the environmentally sound and efficient management of such wastes, if the New Zealand smelter continued to operate on the basis of New Zealand arisings. Even if the New Zealand smelter closed, there would be no increase in transboundary movement.

15. The Technical Group noted, however, that there were issues to be considered in view of the submission received from the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development. These issues were outside the scope of the advice from the Technical Group.

Agenda Item 5. Reports of international meetings

Agenda Item 6. Work Program of the Technical Group

Agenda Item 7. Criteria for separating hazardous from non-hazardous wastes

(a) Guidance on whether wastes containing metals or metal compounds are controlled under the Hazardous Waste Act

(b) Hazard assessment of Y22 copper compounds

(c) Hazard assessment of Y23 zinc compounds

Agenda Item 8. Criteria for separating wastes from non-wastes

Agenda Item 9. Defining environmentally sound management

Agenda Item 10. Regional Centres (oral)

Agenda Item 11. Avoidance, minimisation and treatment of hazardous wastes

(a) Scoping study for National Environmental protection Council National Management of Clinical and Related Wastes (oral)

Agenda Item 12. Other Business

16. There was no discussion of these items.

Agenda Item 13. Dates of next meetings

(a) Friday 2 August 2002, Sydney

(b) Friday 23 August 2002

(c) Friday 20 September 2002