Toxic waste plan for SA

Issue 

Toxic waste plan for SA

By Anthony Thirlwall

ADELAIDE — South Australia could be the site of Australia's first high-temperature toxic waste incinerator.

The state Liberal government has revealed that the Environmental Protection Authority is currently investigating the possibility of situating the facility near Coober Pedy in the state's far north, along the Adelaide to Alice Springs rail line.

The Cooper Pedy Council has voted against the plan.

This follows attempts in 1990 to establish a similar facility at Corowa on the River Murray in NSW. These plans were abandoned in 1992 after an independent panel working an intractable waste problems concluded that a centralised high-temperature incinerator was not the best solution.

It is estimated that 300,000 tonnes of intractable toxic waste are in storage around Australia with no method of disposal.

Currently, hazardous waste collected in SA is received at a depot in Dry Creek, where it is packed and transported by semi-trailer to Melbourne or Sydney.

On March 13, the town of Yunta in the state's mid-north was evacuated following a toxic smoke scare after a rail container storing pesticides and other chemicals caught fire.