Soilco plans for $2.5 million compost plant at Kembla Grange

Soilco’s existing Organics Recycling Facility at nearby 61 Reddalls Road.
Soilco’s existing Organics Recycling Facility at nearby 61 Reddalls Road.

A Kembla Grange soil company is looking to expand, lodging a proposal for a $2.5 million food and garden composting facility with Wollongong City Council.

Plans submitted on behalf of Soilco Pty Limited reveal a new plant proposed for a 1.8 hectare site at 132 West Dapto Road, Kembla Grange would be able to process 40,000 tonnes of garden and food waste each year.

It would also process 15,000 tonnes each of urban and forestry timber waste and drilling muds, and would manufacture and distribute 50,000 tonnes of soil, compost and mulch. 

The new facility would be used to further compost materials already treated at the Soilco’s existing Organics Recycling Facility at nearby 61 Reddalls Road, the plans say.

In asking for council approval, Soilco notes the Reddalls Road site processes 50,000 tonnes a year of garden, timber and food waste, which has to be transferred 80 kilometres to a facility west of Nowra for further processing. 

“The closer facility would provide an opportunity to significantly reduce travel distances for further processing and distribution to end users,” an environmental assessment says.

“This would result in 1,730 fewer heavy vehicle movements and a saving of up to 93,000 litres of diesel fuel per annum currently consumed for transport of material to [the Nowra site].”

The environmental impact statement also outlines the need for another organic waste recovery facility in the region, saying about 50 per cent of waste is organic and that “the amount of material that needs to be diverted from landfill is expected to increase significantly over the next few years”.

It quotes NSW Planning statistics from 2010, showing the Illawarra region produced 113,226 tonnes of residual waste and 116,108 tonnes of recoverable materials.

It also says Wollongong City Council has the option to start a “food organics, garden organics” program as part of an existing contract with Soilco, which would bring it into line with programs at Shellharbour and Kiama councils.

An air quality assessment says operations at the site are “unlikely to have a significant impact on the local or regional air quality”. It also says that “dispersion modelling” indicated the proposal was likely to comply with NSW EPA odour criteria, while a noise impact assessment concludes mitigation measures could ensure the plant meets requirements.

The closest homes to the site, located in an industrial area just of the Princes Highway, are at Farmborough Heights, the proposal says.

According to the Southern Joint Regional Planning Panel, which will assess the plans, the project is worth $2,454,268.