Muswellbrook Shire Council is excited to share our progress on plans for a new Organic Recycling Facility, which is supported by a $500,000 grant from the NSW Government.

During these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Council remains committed to continuing to play a key role in protecting and supporting the community, and this includes planning for the future. Council believes one way to achieve this is through development of infrastructure to boost the local economy, support jobs and enhance our great community.

The planned facility is proposed to be located at the Muswellbrook Waste Management Facility (MWMF) on Coal Road, Muswellbrook. The facility would receive up to 10,000 tonnes of food and garden organics each year for composting and will support Council’s move to collecting household food organics along with the traditional green bin garden waste collection.

The facility would be integrated with the operation of the existing MWMF and include:
  a large enclosed shed to receive organic waste
•    new hardstand areas for compost maturation and storage and dispatch of the product
•    covered aerated composting units for processing the organic material
•     leachate dam and an aeration unit for odour control
•    upgrades to drainage and internal access ways.
This project has been developed in response to community interest in diverting waste from landfill and to reach NSW targets for diverting food and garden organics. It will also have benefits for the Muswellbrook community including:
  reducing greenhouse gas emissions and environmental, water and groundwater impacts from landfill leachate by diverting putrescible waste from landfill;
•    increasing the life of the existing landfill and delaying the need to construct new landfill cells;
•    recycling of nutrients and organic matter to satisfy increasing demand for the compost product on gardens, farms and in mine rehabilitation; and
•    creating new jobs for locals during construction and operation.
Muswellbrook Shire Council is currently preparing a Concept Design and Development Application for the project which includes an Environmental Impact Statement, and we are seeking your feedback.
    Follow this page for the latest updates.
    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Send a written submission to Council: PO Box 122, Muswellbrook NSW 2333
    Call a member of the Waste team at Council on 02 6549 3849
    We look forward to hearing from you.


Abbreviations and Common Terms

Council     Muswellbrook Shire Council
CASP   Covered Aerated Static Pile is a specific type of composting technology that involves aerating covered piles of organic material to improve and speed up the composting process
EIS   Environmental Impact Statement is a report which provides an assessment of the environmental and social impacts of a proposed development and identifies how they will be avoided, militated or managed
ORF   Organics Recycling Facility
MWRF   Muswellbrook Waste Management Facility
FOGO   Food Organics and Garden Organics


•         Muswellbrook Shire Council currently processes 2,200 tonnes of kerbside and self-haul garden organics each year and about 300 tonnes of untreated timbers at the MWRF.


    The MWRF is currently only permitted to process garden organics. Garden waste has been collected and composted at the MWRF for the last 14 years and at full capacity the MWRF can process up to 5,000 tonnes of garden organics a year.



    The NSW state landfill diversion targets aims to increase waste diverted from landfill to 75% (NSW Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2014–21).

    The Muswellbrook community have expressed interest in diverting more waste from landfill and Council have been investigating opportunities for further improvement of waste management.
    The MWRF is the only facility in the Hunter Region with the potential to process FOGO.
    Council identified that Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter residents could contribute to diverting around 6,800 tonnes of organic waste from landfill in the region by introducing kerbside FOGO collection.
•       Council has received $500,000 from the NSW Government to develop an Organics Recycling Facility to compost FOGO.


The Development


    Council is planning to develop an ORF within the existing MWRF.
    The ORF will process FOGO collected from within the Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter Shires mainly from kerbside collections.


The ORF would:

- convert FOGO into a beneficial compost product
- use a covered aerated composting process
- enable Council to improve the existing garden organics composting undertaken at the MWRF
- produce compost for use in gardens, on farms and for mine rehabilitation.



The ORF development would include:

- a large enclosed shed for receival of organic waste
- new hardstand areas for compost maturation and storage and dispatch of the product
- covered aerated composting units for processing the organic material
- leachate dam and aeration unit for odour control
- upgrades to drainage and internal access ways

 •     Council has contracted experienced and suitably qualified engineers to prepare a Concept Design, which will comply with best practice guidelines, including the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s Environmental Guidelines: Composting and Related Organics Processing Facilities 2004.
As Council is both the Applicant and the determining authority, the Development Application would be determined by a separate team within Muswellbrook Shire Council. To further minimise the perception and risk of a conflict of interest, an External Assessor will be engaged to assess the Development Application and review community submissions. An overview of the development assessment process follows:
 •     Approval for the ORF is being sought through a Development Application (DA) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act).
•      The Council Waste Services team have contracted experienced and suitably qualified environmental consultants to prepare the EIS and undertake specialist studies. The EIS will include detailed assessment of a range of potential social and environmental impacts.
 •     The EIS will be prepared in accordance with the Secretary's Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) to guide the assessment of environmental and community impacts related to the development. As part of this process direct contact will be made with adjacent landowners and with government stakeholders seeking feedback on required environmental assessment, and online meetings have been held with the NSW EPA and ref: Muswellbrook Recycling Organics Waste Facility.docx Page 3 of 4 Transport for NSW.
 •     The EIS is placed on public exhibition for 30 days and during this time public feedback is welcomed.



Key potential impacts of the ORF which will be addressed in the EIS include:

- traffic – minor increase in heavy vehicles visiting the MWMF
- air quality (odour) – potential odour impacts from processing FOGO
- noise - increase in noise impacts during construction and operation
- water quality – management and treatment of leachate and wastewater
- biosecurity - risks to biosecurity from transferring and processing FOGO.

 •      A range of environmental controls would be in place to avoid impacts on community amenity and the environment.
 Community Benefits
 •     Up to 10,000 tonnes of food and garden organics will be diverted from landfill each year to facilitate a circular economy where waste generated by residents is converted into a beneficial product for their use.
 •      Diversion of putrescible waste from landfill reduces greenhouse gas emissions and environmental, water and groundwater impacts from landfill leachate.
 •      Increasing the life of the existing landfill and delaying the need to construct new landfill cells.
 •      Recycling of nutrients and organic matter through increasing use of compost product for gardens, farms and mine rehabilitation.
 •      Create new jobs for locals during construction and operation.

Muswellbrook Organics Recycling Waste Facility Process

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