Community and Stakeholder Consultation

Summerhill Organics Processing Facility

City of Newcastle is proposing to build an organics processing facility at Summerhill Waste Management Centre to process food and garden waste, diverting it from landfill.

Summerhill Organics Processing Facility

We are proposing to build an organics processing facility at Summerhill Waste Management Centre to process food and garden waste, diverting it from landfill.

The proposal involves construction and operation of a fully-contained composting facility which includes receiving, composting, maturation, and storage areas. The proposed facility will use new technology to process organic waste into compost for reuse. The facility is intended to:

  • Increase resource recovery from food and garden organic wastes
  • Reduce the amount of waste going to landfill
  • Contribute to the City’s goal of net zero emissions from its operations by 2030

Key features

We currently receive around 23,000 tonnes of garden organic waste at Summerhill each year, which is then transported off site for further processing. The proposed facility will instead allow onsite processing of up to 50,000 tonnes of food and organic waste every year in a completely enclosed facility, as part of our transition to more sustainable waste management practices. Diverting this waste from landfill and processing it on site will contribute to our goal of net zero emissions from our operations by 2030.

The proposed facility will be fully enclosed, and will use an active odour control system. The system ensures that air is continuously drawn from the facility buildings to keep it under a constant state of negative air pressure.

Next Steps

The community were invited to feedback on the proposed facility to help guide preparation of the project's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in November and December 2021, via drop-in sessions, a survey and written submissions.

The DA for the proposed facility was submitted in May 2022, following which there will be a public exhibition of the proposal to allow the community to have its say on the proposed design and operations. The proposal will be subject to approval by the Joint Regional Planning Panel. If the application is successful, construction will begin in 2023, with an expected construction duration of up to 12 months.

To keep up to date with the status of the DA application via our Application Tracker using the ID number: DA2022/00572.

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Access: Contact us by phone on (02) 4974 2000 or attend the City Administration Centre.

Project timeline

29 November - 17 December
Early engagement
Informing the community and stakeholders about the project and providing opportunities to Have Your Say.
Tuesday 7 December 2021
Drop-in information session
Drop by any time between 5.30pm and 7.30pm at the Wallsend Pioneers Memorial Hall to learn more about the project and speak to the project team.
12pm Thursday 9 December 2021
Online community information session
Register to come along to our 1-hour online community information session to learn more about the project.

Frequently asked questions

Summerhill Waste Management Centre is proposing to expand its operations to include an organics processing facility. This will be a fully-contained composting facility, which includes receiving, composting, maturation, and storage areas. The proposed facility will use new technology to process food and garden organic waste into compost that can be used for landscaping, in agriculture and site rehabilitation.

Summerhill Waste Management Centre is a solid waste landfill managed by City of Newcastle. The site is licensed by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to receive 'General Solid Waste (Putrescible and Non-putrescible) and Special Waste'. The facility has approval to receive up to 352,000 tonnes of waste per annum. Organic material is included within this tonnage and is already managed on site.

The facility design contains the following elements:

  • Dedicated spaces to sequentially receive, process and dispatch organics waste in a completely contained facility.
  • Processing equipment that includes the initial intensive composting phase for 14 days, followed by 28 days of aerated maturation and another 20 days of passive maturation.
  • An active odour control system ensures that air is continuously drawn from the facility buildings to keep it under a constant state of negative air pressure.  Chemical scrubbers and a biofilter are installed on the exhaust to mitigate odour produced within the facility before it is discharged

The following works also need to be carried out to prepare the site for the Organics Processing Facility:

  • The site of the Organics Processing Facility has existing organics and recycling processing activities carried out upon it. These activities need to be relocated to other parts of the site.
  • The site will be cleared and decontaminated. Mine grouting will be undertaken to ensure the safety of the ground beneath the structure.
  • Bulk earthworks will be carried out to install the finished levels and to install stormwater controls.

A summary of the works required to enable the Organics Facility can be found on the information sheet here.

  • Currently food waste generated in Newcastle is disposed to landfill. Both CN and the community  share the desire to reduce waste to landfill and increase resource recovery. The organic processing facility is part of how we can achieve that.
  • The organics processing facility will allow us to collect and process food organics in addition to garden organics.
  • Collecting food waste will divert approximately 6,000 tonnes of waste from landfill each year.
  • Once completed, the facility will be capable of processing 50,000 tonnes of organic waste each year, creating an opportunity to reduce waste and encourage more sustainable resource management locally.
  • By diverting waste from landfill and processing food and garden material from households and businesses in the Local Government Area, the facility will be contributing to our goal of net zero emissions from its operations by 2030.
  • We are committed to meeting future infrastructure and service needs in line with NSW Government’s Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 which sets a target of halving the amount of organics waste sent to landfill by 2030.

It is proposed that our kerbside collection vehicles will collect food and garden organic waste from households via the green lid bin and deliver it to the facility via the existing site entrance at Summerhill Waste Management Centre.

The waste material would be unloaded within the enclosed facility, where it would undergo ‘pre-treatment’, to remove unsuitable material from the organic waste stream. The organic waste is then transferred to sealed tunnels for 14 days of intensive composting.

From here, the immature compost is transferred to aerated maturation bays for 28 days.

Once the compost has matured it is screened, with large or inorganic particles being separated from smaller ones.

The compost is transferred to passive maturation bays where it undergoes final quality testing before storage / dispatch.

Currently Summerhill Waste Management Centre is only able to sort and shred garden organic material, which is then transported off site for further processing.

The proposed organics processing facility will be able to process food waste as well as garden organics. This significantly increases our ability to reduce the amount of the region’s organic waste that ends up in landfill.

Organics processing helps us extend the life of a landfill site by reducing the amount of material that ends up in the landfill and reduces the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the landfill.

The State Government has mandated that all local governments introduce collection and processing of food and garden organic waste by 2030, and major commercial generators by 2025.

As of May 2022, we have submitted a development application (DA) for the design and construction of the organics processing facility, following which there will be a public exhibition of the proposal to allow the community to have its say on the proposed design and operations. The proposal will be subject to approval by the Joint Regional Planning Panel.

If the application is successful, construction will begin in 2023, with an expected construction duration of up to 12 months.

The proposed organics processing facility will reduce the amount of the region’s waste that ends up in landfill.

Organics processing helps us extend the life of a landfill site by reducing the amount of material that ends up in the landfill and reduces the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the landfill.

The organics processing facility is being designed to be an entirely enclosed facility that will contain noise and odour. The facility is a single-story building, located within the existing Summerhill Waste Management Centre. The facility is unlikely to be visible from nearby residential streets. An active odour control system ensures that air is continuously drawn from the facility buildings to keep it under a constant state of negative pressure.  Air pollution control devices are installed on the exhaust to reduce the odour before it is discharged meeting environmental regulations.

The facility will be owned and operated by City of Newcastle. It is expected that approximately 180 jobs will be generated throughout construction and between 8 and 10 jobs during ongoing operation.

There is currently no proposal to increase rates.

At this stage Council has not made a decision about distribution of the compost from the facility.

The timeframe around the kerbside collection of food organics and garden organics is currently being considered by Council.

The technology proposed has been developed by Waste Treatment Technologies (WTT) based in the Netherlands.  WTT have built over 125 facilities across the globe utilising this technology.  The WTT technology has been used to develop organics processing facilities in NSW and Victoria.

 Construction is expected to commence in 2023

Once approved, construction is expected to take up to 12 months.

Truck activity is expected to remain the same as it is currently, with the new facility utilising the existing entrance and exit routes to Summerhill Waste Management Centre, off Minmi Road.

The organics processing facility will accept source-separated food and garden organics wastes collected in dedicated kerbside collection bins and process them into compost that meets both Australian standard for composts, soil conditioners and mulches and all relevant NSW EPA regulations.

Conversion of waste into compost is a beneficial waste minimisation technique as it avoids disposal of the food and garden organic wastes to landfill, reducing the impacts that landfills have on the environment.

Communities can achieve major environmental benefits by separating and recycling organic materials. Proper waste management helps improve air and water quality as well as reduces greenhouse gas emissions. It helps in reducing pollution and energy consumption associated with manufacturing new materials.

City of Newcastle is committed to meeting future infrastructure and service needs in line with the NSW Government’s Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 which will come into effect in July 2022.

Contact us

Andrew Ball

Project Manager

Phone: 02 4974 2000
Email: mail@ncc.nsw.gov.au

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