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Dr Karl Baltpurvins is Cleanaway’s General Manager of Technical and Environment Services. This division operates 14 hazardous and regulated waste treatment facilities located throughout Australia employing over 250 staff. Karl will join other Cleanaway experts at the Coffs Harbour Waste Conference 2019, 14 to 16 May 2019 for three days of knowledge, experience, case studies and insight into the waste industry.
Hazardous and problematic wastes are often not considered in the context of local communities but have an increasing prevalence in Australian society. This includes common household materials such as Household Hazardous Waste (HHW), paint, oil, batteries, e-waste and asbestos. There are also a range of emerging contaminants such as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), lithium batteries and solar panels that pose significant risks to communities if not effectively managed.
We have also seen a number of major incidents in recent times involving hazardous and problematic wastes which have resulted on both impacts to human health and the environment. Most recently there was a major factory fire in Melbourne involving flammable solvents that resulted in two workers sustaining significant injuries along with other major community impacts including the closure of several schools and other evacuations.
PFAS has rapidly become a mainstream issue due to its potential toxicity, bioaccumulation potential, prevalence and mobility. PFAS has obtained extensive media coverage about its direct impact on local communities and governments.
For local government to provide effective services to local communities there is a need to understand the nature of these hazardous and problematic wastes and the current and future schemes available.
There are several community schemes including NSW EPA Community Recycling Centres (CRC) and Sustainability Victoria’s Detox your Home which provide communities with access to safe and cost-effective disposal options.
In addition, there are several outstanding product stewardship schemes including NTRS for e-waste, Paintback for paint and Agsafe for agricultural chemicals, that provide funding mechanisms for the sustainable management of these problematic and hazardous wastes.
There is a significant role for government in assisting with the management of hazardous and problematic wastes. Some key government drivers include:
1) landfill acceptance criteria
2) product stewardship schemes
3) co-funding arrangements for infrastructure
4) regulatory consent
At the upcoming Coffs Harbour Waste 2019 Conference I will be presenting a paper that will explore best practice in terms of management of these hazardous and problematic wastes with a focus on how local governments can provide best support their local communities.
This presentation will also explore the national trends and specifically discuss risk areas including groundwater and soil contamination as well as emerging areas such as landfill leachate and biosolids management.
The management of hazardous and problematic wastes By Dr Karl Baltpurvins
About the author:
Karl is the General Manager of Cleanaway’s Technical and Environmental Services Business Unit which is the largest hazardous waste management company in Australia. Karl holds a PhD in environmental chemistry from the University of Newcastle and has over 20 years of experience in the environmental services sector in Australia and abroad. Karl is a chartered chemist with the Royal Australian Chemistry Institute and has published an array of papers in the fields of contaminated soil treatment, hazardous waste management, geochemical exploration, wastewater treatment and environmental chemistry.