EPA Victoria has this week geared up its’ commitment to improving Victoria’s
water quality by starting a round of targeted inspections of electroplaters
across the state between now and Christmas.
EPA Victoria CEO John Merritt said that the strategy aims to tackle pollution
to water and land from the electroplating industry.
“Electroplaters are being prioritised because of the environmental risks posed
by the heavy metals and chemicals they use. A spill or release of these metals
and chemicals, even in very small amounts, can cause long term damage to soils,
rivers and streams, fish and other aquatic life and human health,’ Mr Merritt
“For example, a spill of lead chromate the size of just one coffee mug would
take 30 million litres of water to dilute to acceptable levels.”
This has been an evidence based decision after 11 inspections of electroplating
businesses in the Dandenong area in 2011 highlighted non-compliance with
environmental regulations resulting in significant remedial and enforcement
action taken by EPA.
“Environment Protection Officers will look specifically at the way
electroplaters are disposing of waste, storing waste and chemicals, using
bunding to contain spills and maintaining and repairing plating baths and rinse
tanks forming part of ongoing efforts to improve the health and water quality,”
“We have taken a support to comply approach by giving notice to electroplaters
of our upcoming inspections and providing information about the behaviours EPA
wants to see them change, encouraging them to self-evaluate.
"Those who are found to be in breach of environmental laws and posing serious
risk to the environment will be subject to appropriate compliance and
enforcement action by EPA.”
A total of 40 inspections will take place with inspections planned for
Knoxfield, Seaford and East Bentleigh next week. Three took place in Clayton
North, Box Hill and Braeside last week.
To measure the impact of these inspections EPA Victoria is observing behaviours
on site and conducting interviews and surveys of electroplaters and will make
follow up inspections to measure change early next year.
Stormwater pollution in urban areas is one of EPA Victoria’s Annual Compliance
Plan top 6 priorities for 2013-14.