Closed landfill sites
Closed landfills are sites that have historically been used as tips or dumps for waste disposal, which are now no longer used and are often restored for community use. There are no operational landfills in Redland City.
Actual or suspected closed landfill sites on Redlands Coast with public access include the following locations:
Sporting facilities and parks
- Amity Point Recreation Reserve
- Charlie Buckler Sportsfields
- EGW Wood Sportsfields
- GJ Walter Park
- Henry Ziegenfusz Park
- John Fredericks Sportsfields
- Judy Holt Recreation Reserve
- Laurie Burns Recreation Reserve
- Les Moore Park
- Norfolk Park (RPAC)
- Redlands Baseball Park
- Sel Outridge Park
- 62A Tina Avenue, Lamb Island
- 1A & 6-8 East Road, Karragarra Island
- 23 Bimba Street, North Stradbroke Island
Twenty-four of the closed landfills on Redlands Coast are used for sporting fields, parks, BBQ areas or publicly-accessed bushland.
Using closed landfill sites as sports fields and other recreation areas is a positive and valuable use of land. Council ensures any potential environmental and health issues associated with using these sites is mitigated before use.
The generation of landfill gas offers opportunities to convert methane to carbon dioxide (a less powerful greenhouse gas) and create renewable energy. At the Birkdale Recycling and Waste Centre, landfill gas is extracted and used to create electricity.
Closed landfill sites are governed by the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act) - State Government legislation, which protects the environment in Queensland.
All Council's closed landfill sites are listed on the Environmental Management Register (EMR) and four have an environmental authority, which is an approval to operate, as required by the EP Act.
The sites with an environmental authority have a number of compliance conditions that Council needs to meet.
Any site listed on the EMR may, by law, be required to have an approved Site Management Plan to protect the public’s health and the environment.
What's in a closed landfill?
Waste deposited in a landfill can include household and industrial waste, such as asbestos and other hazardous chemicals.
Landfill sites were not always built to the environmental and engineering standards of today.
Before the 1980s, sites were chosen based on availability and convenience. Quarries, wetlands and vacant land were often used as dumping grounds.
Today, choosing a landfill site requires a thorough examination of the geology, groundwater, how close it is to creeks and rivers and long-term management plans.
Any new sites are designed by engineers and liners are installed to contain contaminants. Previously, landfill sites did not have these controls in place, so they can be more difficult to manage.
Understanding landfill rehabilitation
In rehabilitating landfill sites, Council considers the following things.
Leachate is water that has passed through waste material and picked up contaminants on the way. It can contain traces of ammonia, heavy metals, pathogenic organisms, phosphorous and other nutrients.
While it is often harmless, it can be toxic or hazardous to humans and the environment.
To control leachate and reduce the chances of it occurring, Council has different mitigation strategies, such as diverting stormwater away from landfill sites, compacting waste material and capping landfills to reduce the effects of rainfall.
Old landfill sites have a greater risk of leachate from water travelling through the landfill, due to a historically poor understanding of the need for capping and drainage.
Landfill gas is a by-product of rotting landfill waste and usually contains mainly methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide.
If it naturally vents into the atmosphere, it may not cause a problem. But it is essential to properly monitor gas emissions and control them, as they can create a number of potential hazards, including:
- fire and explosions – if there is an ignition source for flammable gases in the open atmosphere or an enclosed space
- poisoning – a possible effect of exposure to toxic gases
- asphyxiation – a possible effect of exposure to gases in a confined or enclosed space
- greenhouse effect – methane gas and carbon dioxide are contributing agents.
Surface subsidence occurs when waste decomposes and reduces in volume, creating underground voids.
Hazardous materials are substances that can harm people’s health or the environment, e.g. asbestos or used needles.
A cap is a cover put over a landfill site to prevent people using it from being exposed to contaminants and to minimise water infiltration to reduce leachate generation.
Capped landfills can be used for community use, such as parks or playgrounds. Capping materials are generally compressed clay and topsoil.
Properly-engineered capping is used to minimise infiltration to prevent leachate and includes special liners and drainage material in addition to clay and topsoil.
Batters are the sloped sides of a landfill.
Contact with waste if people come into contact with waste, it can pose health hazards, including physical injury, infection and possible reactions to chemicals. The key to minimising contact with buried waste is to protect the capping material.
It is essential to preserve capping materials at all landfill sites, and important that no construction, planting or land use activities cause damage to the site capping or make drainage less effective.
Monitoring, inspections and reporting
Council is responsible for environmental monitoring of all closed landfill sites.
Regular investigations are done to assess the environmental condition of sites and highlight potential problems that need to be addressed.
Selected closed landfill sites across Redland City are routinely monitored for environmental issues by independent consultants and testing is done on landfill gas boreholes, groundwater and surface waters.
The frequency of monitoring is based on the likelihood of health or environmental issues, usually depending on the type of waste that was historically deposited at the site. If an environmental or health issue is identified, Council works to address and rectify it; a landfill remediation charge included in Council rates is used for this work.
Major work can include engineered capping, gas venting, leachate collection and management of infrastructure.
Additional site inspections are carried out when needed, usually in response to:
- environmental monitoring results
- work on-site
- complaints, incidents or emergencies at the site
- a review of the site's risk profile.
Council keeps records of all inspections, monitoring and maintenance programs and notifies the Environmental Regulatory Authority of any notifiable incidents.
Incidents and emergencies
If you notice any of the following incidents or activities at one of Council’s closed landfill sites, please contact Council on 07 3829 8999 to report it and we will investigate:
- a spill or unauthorised discharge of a liquid, e.g. oil, petrol, diesel, sewage, paint, solvents, liquid waste or pesticides into a creek, waterway, wetland, drain or on a road or land
- potential environmental harm, e.g. dead fish in a waterway or unhealthy and dying plants
- evidence of contamination, e.g. an unusual colour, odour, temperature or floating matter
- potential for contamination, e.g. illegally dumped waste or spills
- evidence of air pollution, e.g. chemicals, unusual odours or sewage odours
- illegal dumping of solid or liquid waste, e.g. a waste tanker discharging into drains or creeks or dumping potentially contaminated soil.