FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the facility all about?

Hi-Quality Group in Bulla will be the preferred site to collect, treat and dispose of the material excavated by the tunnel boring machines on the West Gate Tunnel. Hi-Quality has undertaken rigorous assessments and our facility has been designed to meet and exceed the highest environmental, operational and safety standards. The site is located at 570-600 Sunbury Road in Bulla.

Why is this facility needed?

The West Gate Tunnel Project is a major infrastructure project that is intended to provide a much-needed alternative to the West Gate Bridge. As a result of the tunnel excavation work, there is a large amount of soil that needs to be safely disposed of. Some of the soil may contain low levels of PFAS, a group of man-made chemicals commonly found in former industrial areas.

Where will it be located?

The facility will be located within the existing Sunbury Eco-Hub, some 30 kilometres north-west of Melbourne. It is approximately five kilometres from the Sunbury town centre and more than two kilometres from the nearest residential community.

What does the facility involve?

The facility will be located within Hi-Quality Group's existing Sunbury Eco-Hub. The project involves the collection, assessment and treatment of waste soil from the West Gate Tunnel Project. It will be integrated into the site’s 24 hours, seven days a week operation.

As part of the project, Hi-Quality will build specially engineered and constructed containment bays made of high-strength hardstand with a leach-proof lining. These bays are designed in line with the Victorian Government’s Best Practice Environmental Guidelines (BPEM) and have been developed with oversight from EPA Victoria. The soil from the West Gate Tunnel Project will be transported in specially covered and sealed trucks to the bays where it will be held for assessment and testing.

The soil will be the consistency of sludge when it arrives at the site. Once it is tested, the water will be drained off and treated through a water treatment plant at the Hi-Quality site, resulting in water that is within Australian Drinking Water Guideline levels.

The entire process will be engineered to control dust at every stage. Hi-Quality Group has undertaken detailed environmental impact reviews, which showed storage will not cause any unacceptable impact or leave any detrimental environmental legacy, either on site or to the local community. 

Why the Hi-Quality site?

Hi-Quality Group’s Sunbury Eco-Hub is the most suitable and best-equipped site in Victoria to take the material from the West Gate Tunnel Project. It has been used for recycling, landfill and soil processing of contaminated and non-contaminated products for more than 20 years, and it is identified as a hub of state significance waste and resource recovery. Due to its remote location and extensive land holding, the facility will be situated well away from residential communities and development, ensuring minimal impact to Sunbury residents.

Is Hi-Quality the large tip that can be seen from Sunbury Road?

Hi-Quality Group has no connection with Bulla Tip and Quarry (BTQ) site which is visible from Sunbury Road. Hi-Quality’s Sunbury Eco-Hub is located approximately 1.4 kilometres to the north east of BTQ, and its operations are out of sight from Sunbury Road.

Is the treatment and disposal safe?

Hi-Quality’s state-of-the-art facilities offer a safe and sustainable solution for the treatment of contaminated soils and other waste material, in line with strict environmental and planning controls.

Hi-Quality has undertaken robust and comprehensive checks throughout this project, including environmental analysis, noise and traffic assessments, culture and heritage reviews and a bushfire management report. All of these assessments showed limited impact to surrounding areas.

The containment bays are a BPEM compliant design, and the project will only go ahead with oversight and ongoing monitoring of EPA Victoria.

Is contaminated material from the tunnel project already being taken to the Bulla site?

Hi-Quality Group’s Sunbury Eco-Hub has taken large volumes of waste material including non-contaminated and contaminated soil from major infrastructure projects since 2003. Under our existing licence, we have been taking some material from major infrastructure projects, including other aspects of West Gate Tunnel Project.

None of the material excavated by the two tunnel boring machines has been taken to the Sunbury Eco-Hub to date.

What is PFAS?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, are a group of man-made chemicals which have been widely used in a range of everyday applications since the 1940s. All of us are exposed to small amounts of PFAS every day in dust, air, food, water and contact with consumer products containing these chemicals.

The Australian Government’s Expert Health Panel for PFAS has found there is currently no evidence that PFAS has a significant impact on human health. Low levels of PFAS in soil are not harmful to the public during soil removal, relocation or disposal.

What will be the long-term impact?

Over the long term, the site will be remediated and restored to its original profile once the facility operations have concluded. The processing and storage of excavated soil from the West Gate Tunnel Project will not cause any unacceptable impact or leave any detrimental environmental legacy either on site or in the local community.

Will this proposal provide local jobs?

Hi-Quality Group has been a pillar and major employer in the Sunbury community since 2003. We currently employ 55 full-time staff members and 6 contractors, the vast majority of which are Sunbury residents.

Our facility is expected to generate up to 200 additional jobs in the construction phase and provide continued employment. The WGTP is an important part of the Victorian Government’s ‘Big Build’ agenda, and our proposal is critical to its progression.

Hi-Quality’s site is also included in the Sunbury South Precinct Structure Plan which envisions the development of new communities, including schools and a railway station, over the long term. In total, the Sunbury South and Lancefield Road precinct structure plans will allow for 6,000 jobs in the wider Sunbury area.

How will the works impact me?

The facility will be situated well away from residential communities to ensure minimal impact to Sunbury residents. However, depending on where you live or work, you may notice some construction noise while the facility is being built. There will also be an increase in the volume of trucks travelling to and from the site on Sunbury Road, via an approved truck route.

As the project will operate 24/7, there is a recommendation for traffic lights to be installed at the turn-off to the Hi-Quality site to ensure the safety of all road users. EPA Victoria will have oversight of the project every step of the way.