Pilbara Waste Management Facility

The Shire of Ashburton is in the process of establishing a new regional waste management facility in Onslow, Western Australia. The Class IV facility will accept Class III and IV waste, including waste from the mining, industrial and oil and gas sectors across the wider Pilbara region. The Pilbara Regional Waste Management Facility will be an integrated facility consisting of a Greenwaste facility, Construction and Demolition Waste Facility, Liquid Waste Facility, Tyre Mono-cell and Class IV landfill. The Class IV landfill will be only such facility within the north west Australia accepting the low level hazardous waste materials arising from the resource sectors.

Key Objectives

The key objectives of the project are to:

  • Deliver sustainable resource recovery initiatives for the Onslow region;
  • Provide Best Practice waste disposal services for the Onslow region; and
  • Provide Best Practice regional hazardous waste management services.

The development of the Pilbara Regional Waste Management Facility will also facilitate economic diversification and growth by significantly reducing the cost of managing waste, including hazardous materials for the mining, oil and gas, government and other industries throughout Onslow, the Pilbara Region and beyond.


The Pilbara region has experienced significant growth in the last fifteen years due to the rapid expansion of the resources industry, in particular, the mining, oil and gas sectors. This growth is putting significant pressure on the existing waste infrastructure and services within the region.  Onslow was selected to support the establishment of the Ashburton North Strategic Industrial Area and significant projects have already been delivered including Chevron’s Wheatstone Project and BHP Billiton’s Macedon project.

The Shire’s current waste management infrastructure consists of the Onslow Landfill (closed), Tom Price Landfill, Paraburdoo Landfill and Onslow Waste Transfer Station. The Onslow Landfill was closed and rehabilitated by the Shire in accordance with best practice standards in 2015 as it had reached the end of its operational life. The closure and rehabilitation of the landfill facilitated the wider development of the Onslow area including the Onslow Ring Road, the Barrarda Estate and surrounding subdivisions.

With the closure of the Onslow Landfill in 2015, the Shire opened the Onslow Waste Transfer Station to manage waste collected from the town. The Onslow community’s waste is consolidated at the Waste Transfer Station prior to haulage to Tom Price or Karratha for disposal. With the closure of the Onslow Landfill, the Shire recognised the importance of establishing a new Waste Management Facility to service the needs of Onslow and also the opportunity to appropriately treat waste from the wider Pilbara region.

The Shire has been actively progressing the Pilbara Regional Waste Management Facility for a number of years through the development of a number of studies and strategies and market research. Through these studies it was highlighted the requirement for the facility to cater for both local waste from the Onslow community but also a variety of materials from the mining and resources sector of the Pilbara and wider regions.

Funding and Project Partners

The Pilbara Regional Waste Management Facility is jointly funded by the Australian Government ($9 million), Chevron and Western Australian Government ($2 million) and Shire of Ashburton ($2 million).

The Shire, Chevron and the Western Australian Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation are the Key Project Partners in the delivery of the project.

The Site

A site selection process was undertaken in 2013/14 utilising best practice siting and design principles to identify a preferred site for the facility. Site selection assessment criteria and constraints mapping based on environmental, social and planning factors was used to highlight potential locations. Based on the outcomes of the site selection process, a preferred location was identified within Lot 150 Onslow Road, Thalanyji. The whole site is approximately 435 hectares in size and is located approximately 36 kilometres south of the town of Onslow on Unallocated Crown Land managed by Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. The site was subsequently subject to a desktop assessment and detailed environmental investigations, including geotechnical and hydrogeological studies which deemed it a suitable site for establishing the Pilbara Regional Waste Management Facility.

The Site

The Facility

The Pilbara Regional Waste Management Facility will consist of resource recovery initiatives including a Greenwaste facility and Construction and Demolition Waste Facility to divert materials from landfill through recycling. A Liquid Waste Facility including fixation ponds will be developed to cater for septic and industrial liquid wastes. The facility will also include a Tyre monocell for the isolated disposal of these materials to encourage future recovery options. The total development footprint is approximately 67 hectares.

The Facility

A key component of the Pilbara Regional Waste Management Facility is the landfill cells. These will be designed and constructed to Best Practice landfill standards for hazardous waste (Class IV) to ensure environmental and social risks are managed appropriately. Therefore the landfill cells will consist of a double composite lining system and lined capping system to encapsulate the waste and control emissions.

The facility will also be operated to Best Practice landfill standards to ensure the environmental and operational management requirements are met. This includes ongoing environmental monitoring and reporting in accordance with licence requirements to ensure potential environmental impacts are mitigated and managed.

Project Status

The project is well underway with the aim to construct the facility by late 2019 as per the BBRF funding requirements. The next stage of the project is the development of environmental approval applications. This includes the submission of a referral to the Environmental Protection Authority to determine if an Environmental Impact Assessment is required and a Works Approval and Licence application to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation. A Works Approval and Licence is required to construct and operate the facility according to licence conditions. The preparation of the approval applications is currently in progress and will be submitted to the relevant government agencies by mid 2018.

Following the submission of environmental approvals applications, the future key stages of the project include:


  • Detailed design
  • Construction procurement and contract award


  • Construction of the facility
  • Commencement of operations

Community Consultation

The Shire’s Community Engagement Policy vision states that ‘We will embrace our unique Pilbara environment and lifestyle through the development of vibrant, connected and active communities that have access to quality services, exceptional amenities and economic vitality’. The establishment of the Pilbara Regional Waste Management Facility is a significant project for the community of Onslow and therefore the Shire recognises the importance of ensuring members of the community are aware of each stage of its development.

To support this vision and involve the community on the project, a community consultation process will be undertaken which will involve the delivery of workshops and meetings as well as the provision of information sheets. The workshops will present updates on the project as it progresses and new information is gathered. The meetings and workshops will provide a forum for any feedback, questions and concerns to be raised. The date, location and time for community consultation will be posted on this webpage and through other community mediums e.g. Notice Board adverts etc. The Shire encourages the community to be involved in the project to ensure the Pilbara Regional Waste Management Facility is delivered to meet the needs, expectations and priorities of the Onslow and wider community.

Further Information

Further information on this project will be added after the community consultations are undertaken. It is intended for a Frequently Asked Questions section to be added to this webpage and include an email address for questions to be sent and responses published where appropriate.

Business Case

A Business Case for the Pilbara Regional Waste Management Facility Trading Undertaking - Operator is available here.


Learn more about the Pilbara Regional Waste Management Facility by downloading the FAQ information below. 

FAQ's for the PRWMF