Letters to the editor: Tip vision and Port's committee call

An international vision for the Esperance tip

After writing a book of fifty pages over 10 years this is the first time I have sat at my computer and have written about a rubbish tip - now I will tell you why. Having lived in Esperance for over 60 years from 1957 with a town population of only 900, all gravel road from Coolgardie, no road to Ravensthorpe, no road over wirelesss hill and no road east past the fresh air league holiday home.

I have seen shire councils or roads boards come and go even one mob who got the sack, and have a administrator for 12 months. I could go on forever but my subject today is all about a new rubbish tip for the town. The locations have been discussed, the three main being Merrivale, Myrup, and Dalyup.

I am against any tip near the coast, it may contaminate our underground water supply from many rivers and creeks that run to the ocean from east to west. All the water for the town comes from underground bores and the only way water gets there is from rain, which is getting less each year. I have the solution, we have to build a public temporary and removal transfer facility. What a nice name for a rubbish tip or dump.

Having lived in San Francisco where my son was a builder I visited 12 times over 39 years and drove to the Alameda County Transfer Facility many times with loads of all sorts of building material. The big advantage is that it can be built close to town in an industrial area. It would only need a few acres, being all concrete including the base approximately 150mm thick there is no leakage of any contaminated water after heavy rain into the water table.

The facility does not spread any further than the original footprint. Completely fenced with wire fence in, no paper or plastic can blow outside of the area and can be collected at the end of every day. The main tipping area is cleaned up of rubbish every day ready for the next day. All rubbish is pushed by a bulldozer down to the sorting shed for treatment. The bulldozer is fitted with a big square steel frame and the trash moves easy on the concrete, any water from rain runs down the shed as the concrete base slopes at that end. As the water is polluted from sinking through the trash it is directed into a sump and so the facility is ready for another day dumping.

The trucks come through a gate and are directed to one side of the concrete box shaped area starting on the right hand side. When the right hand side is full the next trucks entering start to unload on the left side.

A bulldozer with a big steel grill on the front starts to push all the rubbish from the right hand side down to the sorting shed until that side is clean. So the process goes all day from side to side. All rubbish in the shed is treated, the scrap steel is taken to the right side by a travelling crane with an electric magnet and dumped into a waiting scrap dealer's truck.

The other rubbish is passed through a Maxi Grinder and reduced to a certain degree ready for the next process then guided into a hydrolic press, it is pressed into a bale about the size of a bale of hay four feet long, two feet wide and two feet deep. The bale is wire bound and loaded straight into a waiting truck for removal to a land fill site.

I was surprised how a big heap of rubbish after being compressed was such a small amount. From Esperance it could go to an old open cut inland, no water problem with clay and solid ground.

The Alameda Public facility transfer dump has been operating 50 years or more. It was a coincidence that I spoke to my son in LA and he had just come back from San Francisco and he told me that the Alameda facility is now completely covered by a huge shed with overhangs and that no rain can fall on the rubbish area. This saves them the cost of carting the contaminated water away to a disposal place. The water from the roof which is clean rain water is collected off the roof and piped to a big tank for public use, a win-win deal.

To my knowledge, I don't know if they have a facility like Alameda in WA or anywhere in the Eastern States, this could be found out by the shire council. They may get plans and specifications and a lot of information from these firms if they exist. My son is in California and being an Esperance boy could be a contact with photos or any information.

Bob McCracken

Be part of the conversation with Southern Ports

Southern Ports is the custodian of the three 'gateway' ports of Albany, Bunbury and Esperance connecting Western Australia to the world.

We exist to create value for the communities in which we live and work and we play an important role in connecting Government, industry and community members.

One of the ways we do that is through our Port Community Consultation Committees (PCCCs) and right now we're looking for new members and we'd love you to join us.

Chief Executive Officer Steve Lewis said the PCCCs provide a critical link between Southern Ports and members of the community.

"These are highly valued roles and we very much appreciate the many volunteers who have dedicated their expertise, time and enthusiasm to each of our Committees," said Mr Lewis.

"Like all parts of our business that continue to evolve, we undertake regular recruitment of new members to our Committees and I encourage interested community members to apply."

For further information about the role of the PCCCs and how to apply, refer to our advertisement in the Public Notices section of today's paper or visit our website: www.southernports.com.au.

Southern Ports