EPA, SBI Group: Cranborne’s ‘terrible’ smell makes residents unwell

The filthy and “really scary” smell of a landfill in Melbourne is so terrible that it makes people sick and insomniacs.

Residents of southeast Melbourne are concerned about their health due to the oppressive smell from the nearby tip, causing illness and affecting sleep.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that in recent days, Brooklyn Greens and Botanic Ridge estates in Cranborne have been hit by an increased smell of demolition waste and inadequately closed construction work at a landfill owned by SBI Group.

The EPA says the smell is caused by hydrogen sulfide and is exacerbated by the cold, still-winter weather, preventing the stench from spreading.

Local resident Alix reached out to radio station 3AW in Melbourne to express her concern about the health of her child.

“I have a five week old baby, I didn’t sleep all night. Nausea, headache, feeling very bad,” she said.

“Of course, being so young and so small, she will have some impact with this scent.

“The smell actually wakes me up. Terrible taste in the mouth. I’m really sick and tired.

“It’s really scary for us.”

A Cranbourne local resident explained that the smell had started several months ago but had become even more pungent in recent days.

“It has gotten really bad lately,” she said.

“Outside, it’s terrible, and it doesn’t matter if you close the doors and windows, it still gets inside.

“Everyone called the EPA, everyone made reports.

“It would be a good idea to contact us in advance to let us know what is going on, what the actual smell is, what they are going to do and how they are going to fix it.

“At the moment they say it’s just a bad smell.”

Sally’s roommate is seven weeks pregnant and worries about how this will affect her unborn baby.

“I’m actually throwing up a lot more than before because of the smell,” she told 3AW.

“My two-year-old has a persistent cough and retching, and my husband has a worsening asthma.”

EPA Acting Regional Manager Steve Landsell insisted that the environmental authority was doing its best to address the issue, assuming the more intense odor would not persist in the long term.

“It may cause some short-term effects, but we know that once it dissipates, it can really help people get on with their lives,” he said.

“If people have serious concerns and permanent consequences, we encourage them to see a doctor.”

SBI Group apologized for the smell in a public statement released Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, SBI Group’s Cranborne landfill has been emitting an increased odor in recent weeks, which intensified late last week,” the statement said.

“A recent odor problem was caused by stagnant water in a reservoir in a former quarry.

“Because of the prevailing winds, this has had a particular impact on neighboring communities. We remove standing water off site from Friday afternoon.

“This, along with a number of other efforts, helped reduce the odor; however, the air inversion during the night means nearby communities can still smell the odor.

“We sincerely apologize to our neighbors for the inconvenience this has caused and thank you for your patience while we resolve this issue.”

Originally published as Residents of Melbourne became ill from the “terrible” smell