As the organisation behind a South West regional waste facility continues trying to resolve its financial woes, a local Shire has been slugged with a significant fee increase in FOGO waste collection. Shire of Dardanup councillors unanimously voted to enter into a new two-year contract with the Bunbury Harvey Regional Council to collect the Shire’s organic waste, at significantly higher prices. The new contract follows the BHRC’s newly adopted gate fees of $74 per tonne for this financial year, a $32 increase from the previous $42 per tonne fee from the 2021/22 financial year. Since launching its three-bin waste management system in October last year to commence FOGO waste collection, the Dardanup Shire has collected more than 1700 tonnes of FOGO waste diverted from landfill, at an average rate of 199 tonnes per month. In a report presented to council, Dardanup Shire operations manager Jason Gick said the BHRC had initited a number of “significant changes” to its Stanley Road and Banksia Road operations to meet regulartory compliance requirements. “There are no other viable destinations for FOGO waste in the South West,” the report read. “The alternative to disposing of FOGO waste locally is to transport it out of the region, which would make it financially unviable.” Along with voting to enter into the new contract during Wednesday’s council meeting, councillors also voted to include a ‘get out’ clause in the contract, which takes effect from October 3. Dardanup Shire president Mick Bennett said the challenges at the Bunbury Harvey Regional Council highlighted a need for improved recycling facilities in the region, particularly in light of a 55 per cent recovery target set by the State Government for regional local governments to achieve by 2025. “Our 3-bin FOGO system, introduced in October last year is an important component of Council’s Waste Strategy to ensure we can meet that target,” he said. “Less than a year after we rolled out the green bins, we are close to achieving it already thanks to the great new habits our community has developed with sorting rubbish at home. “While we have committed to a renewed contract with BHRC in the short-term to recycle our FOGO, inclusion of a termination clause provides us with the flexibility to entertain and investigate other options which may prove more environmentally sustainable in the longterm.” It comes as the BHRC requested up to $1.3 million from member councils City of Bunbury and Shire of Harvey in a bid to keep the Stanley Road Waste Management Facility in Australind open amid a suspension in operations brought about by the issuing of an Environmental Protection Notice by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation last year. Shire of Harvey councillors voted unanimously at their meeting last Tuesday to approve their request for up to $585,000 in funding this financial year, with no debate being held on the motion. A further request for up to $715,000 in funding from the City of Bunbury was also unanimously approved by councillors on Tuesday without debate. As it currently stands, waste from both councils as well as any waste received by the BHRC’s transfer station is currently being diverted to Cleanaway’s Dardanup landfill site. The issues with the site stem from the facility’s historic use of what is known as unlined cells, which do not have barriers to stop decomposing material from leaching into nearby soil and groundwater. DWER required all the unlined cells at the site to be ‘capped’ by June this year to prevent further groundwater contamination, after the facility was found to be responsible for the contamination of groundwater with per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances, more commonly known as PFAS.