Waste to Energy – A necessary alternative to landfill.

Support for Waste to Energy projects:

I wrote this letter to the Federal Member for Fowler during the Submission period for a Waste to Energy Facility to be built at Eastern Creek.
The facility was rejected due to the negative action taken against the proposal by both Federal Member for Fowler, Dai Le and the Member for McMahon, Chris Bowen.

Councillor Peter Harle JP

Peter Harle JP
Councillor since 2008

I support Waste to Energy (WtE) facilities based on an extensive technical visit to two of Tokyo’s 27 Waste to Energy facilities.

One facility was built in late 1950 to address Tokyo’s enormous increasing waste disposal problems, the other was built in 2015. The fist operates at a temperature of 800 Celsius while the latter operates at a temperature of around 2000 Celsius and ensures all toxic material including metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury are rendered in active or destroyed.  Both facilities ensure no toxic fumes enter the atmosphere. The exhaust gas consists primarily of Carbon Dioxide, a necessary plant food, and a very small amount of carefully controlled Nitrous Oxide and water vapour, like that emitted from the average vehicle on our roads.

Particle pollution, often referred to as PM10 and PM2.5 emitted from WTE plants is considerably less than is currently contained within the Western Sydney “basin”. That information is readily available from the EPA website and their Air Quality Monitoring Stations at Liverpool and Bringelly.
Western Sydney’s particle count varies daily depending on air movement and industrial pollution generators such as Concrete Recyclers, Waste Recovery Stations and similar operations. Sadly, Western Sydney Air Quality often exceeds safe standards with the EPA issuing warnings to residents with health issues to stay indoors. Unfortunately, the media rarely publishes that information.

Up to 2018,  Tokyo operates 27 such plants providing cheap electricity to their residents. Used steam produced by the incinerator is circulated to heat nearby public swimming pools, hospitals, schools, community centres and green houses for agriculture use during winter months. Overall, the majority of Tokyo’s WTE plants operate within a 500m radius of residential homes, they are not confined to industrial areas as is proposed in Australia.

There are approximately 80 similar plants operating in the USA while some 200 operate in Europe. Sweden imports waste from neighbouring countries to provide cheap electricity for their residents, all operate within a few kilometres’ radius of residential homes.

Sadly, millions of tons of combustible energy containing waste is buried in landfill in Australia every week and will continue to pollute land and water tables for thousands of years. That is a far greater danger to future generations than any relatively small amount of toxic waste produced by the incinerators’ ash.
The “bottom ash” from incinerators in Tokyo is used as a partial replacement for cement in the building and construction industry while recovered metals and glass is either recycled or used in road base. The small amount of toxic waste from air filters and scrubbers is buried in landfill sites in such a manner that it poses no danger to life for the foreseeable future.
By comparison the “bottom and fly ash” of coal fired power stations is far more toxic than that of WTE incinerators, yet it continues to be stored above ground rendering hundreds of square kilometres around Vales Point and Liddell Power Stations useless and sterile.

From my comments above, it is obvious I am a supporter of WTE incinerators, I have carried out significant research and in my humble opinion much prefer to have a WTE plant nearby than continue burying valuable energy producing waste in nearby landfill and effectively destroying that land for all future generations.

I am against building more coal fired power stations that produce far more toxic waste than any WTE plant in current use around the world.

Liverpool City Councillors were given a substantive briefing on this project.  I am satisfied that this project will have no measurable negative impacts on the community or its air quality, on the contrary in my humble opinion the benefits  will far outweigh any perceived negatives by preventing millions of tons of energy producing waste entering landfill sites within our region.

I also studied all the EIS reports for the previous proposed Eastern Creek WTE Incinerator and could find no significant technical, scientific or planning reason to reject the proposal. However, it was rejected purely on perceived community concerns.

To qualify my comments, my background is in Electrical Engineering, Industrial Control, Automation and Robotics. I am a retired TAFE teacher spanning some 36 years. I worked in various light and heavy industries including Aluminium, Glass, Chemical and Medical equipment manufacturing.

I am also a Member of the Liverpool Community Independents Team  https://lcit.com.au/  elected as a Councillor in 2008. I am not affiliated with any other Political Group or Party. I am passionate about Western Sydney, belong to several Environmental Groups and try to be realistic in an ever-changing modern world.

I assume you already know about the operation of WTE incinerators, however, below are several sources which you may care to read;
And here:


In addition, there are numerous web sites operated by concerned Environmental groups that give fair and unbiased opinions in favour of WTE Incinerators compared to alternatives. There is also the documentary series on ABC TV titled “War on Waste” that is worth watching.

I am happy to discuss this and any other relevant issue at a time convenient to you.

Kind Regards.

Cllr Peter Harle JP
Mb: 0412 736 956

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