The Esperance Merivale Tip Action Group have taken matters into their own hands, conducting an experiment on a property adjacent to the proposed waste site.
The group released 20 litres of red, non toxic vegetable dye into a sinkhole on Monday, February 19, utilising water from recent rainfall to flush the product.
After 24 hours and 18 millimetres worth of rainfall, the dye was discovered in a spring 1.84 kilometres from the original test site.
The group said the outcome of the experiment brought into question the amount of time it took for a contaminant to travel.
Resident and Action Group member David Johnson said he had no doubt the overnight rainfall had assisted the dye but that it disappeared of its own accord.
“We were surprised, we didn’t expect it to come out that quickly,” he said.
“We imagined it would potentially take a few days.”
Mr Johnson said he believed there was a palaeochannel below the surface.
“It certainly must have quickly gone into the mainstream and gone quickly into the large spring which is the start of a creek,” he said.
“All of this pertains to the fact that the Shire want to put a waste management facility here and are telling us that nothing will escape from it.
“It is our view that the proposed site is doomed to fail and we, as community members, wish to address that with Council.”
Just 24 hours prior, the Special Meeting on February 19 saw council move to acknowledge the concerns of the community with regards to the proposed facility.
Council moved to defer any further decision until they had the opportunity to consider the level of assessment determined by the EPA, the scoping document and the potential costs of additional information.
It was moved that a third party conduct an independent review of the hydrological investigations and associated reports, including the Talis’ Phase 2 report.
Speaking to the motion, Councillor John Parsons said there were a lot of concerns regarding the proposed site and Council needed deafened proof moving forward.
Councillor Lara McIntyre seconded the motion.
The motion was carried 8-1, with Councillor Shelley Payne voting against.
Shire of Esperance chief executive officer Matthew Scott said the experiment was something the shire needed to investigate.
“We have requested more information from EMTAG which may include a site visit to the location where the experiment was undertaken to gather more information on the study,” he said.
Mr Johnson said it was the intention of the group to help Council reach the right decision. The Shire have requested the EPA undertake the highest level of assessment.