THE disposal of metropolitan waste in rural areas was in the spotlight last week as a petition was tabled at parliament.
Concerned York and Toodyay residents and members of the Avon Valley Environmental Society (AVES) met on the steps of parliament to hand over a petition with more than 4200 signatures calling for an inquiry into metropolitan waste management.
AVES member and principal petitioner Alice Bernal handed the petition over to Nationals WA member for the agricultural region Paul Brown MLC on Tuesday who then presented it to the legislative council.
The petition was opposing the establishment of multiple landfill sites in rural areas with main concerns for the potential of leaching into groundwater and river systems, the potential for serious pollution following any seismic event and the transfer of social costs from metropolitan areas to rural areas.
Ms Bernal said an inquiry was needed into waste management in the metropolitan areas.
"We are not against landfill, we know WA needs a certain number of landfills because there is so much waste," she said.
"But the issue is where they are putting and planning to put them.
"Both the proposed sites in York and Toodyay are in the middle of catchment areas that feed into river systems and waterways.
"Both are in the most active seismic zone in Australia.
"We are not saying we cannot have landfill, we just want to know why they are planning to put them in these areas that pose serious concerns for major waterways.
"This water issue is extremely concerning."
Ms Bernal said they wanted the inquiry to look at the provision of a single, rigorously monitored landfill site that was not in a seismic area and avoided water courses.
"This is not just about these landfills being in our backyard," she said.
"The proposed landfill site at Allawuna in York is in the water catchment area for the Mundaring Weir.
"These 'fail-proof' linings that are supposed to never leak are known to tear in the event of an earthquake and they are trying to put one right next to a waterway that feeds into Perth's drinking water.
"The site in Toodyay feeds into the Avon River and the Swan Canning Estuary."
Mr Brown said the proposed landfill sites in York and Toodyay presented a number of concerns for residents of those towns as well as the wider community.
"These landfills have far-reaching affects and are a massive concern," he said.
"There are issues with water-ways, and also serious concern with traffic going to and from the sites.
"In Toodyay in particular there are a large amount of trucks proposed to be going up and down Toodyay road.
"In my view that road is already congested and is already at crisis levels."
Mr Brown presented the petition to the legislative council on Tuesday and it would then be passed on to the Environment and Public Affairs Committee to be considered.
Mr Brown said the number of signatures was extremely impressive.
"A petition that goes to the Environment and Public Affairs Committee can have signature of just one," he said.
"So to present a petition with 4200 signatures is a fantastic amount.
"The York and Toodyay residents have been vocal and very active in working to get support for this petition and it has been very well organised."
Mr Brown is also a member on the committee.
Waste management company SITA plans to truck up to 250,000 tonnes of rubbish per year to the site 18 kilometres west of York on the Great Southern Highway.
Opal Vale, also a waste management company, was proposing a landfill site on Chitty Road west of Toodyay.