The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) last week upheld an Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) notice that requires a Heathcote business to conduct an environmental assessment of its soil and groundwater at its former fuel station premises.
EPA North West Manager Scott Pigdon said the notice was issued after an EPA investigation found petroleum hydrocarbon impacts within McIvor Creek.
“During the investigation EPA officers detected petroleum hydrocarbons in a pool of water in McIvor Creek and hydrocarbon-like odours immediately behind the business,” Dr Pigdon said.
“This evidence suggested the past use of the premises could have polluted the site’s soils and groundwater and was impacting on McIvor Creek,” Dr Pigdon said.
Dr Pigdon said the waterway was directly behind the business, which was the site of a former petrol station.
“The combination of hydrocarbon impacts on the creek, the petroleum odour and the former use of the site is why the company was issued the notice to conduct an environmental assessment of its soil and groundwater to see if there is any contamination that might be impacting on the waterway.”
Dr Pigdon said the business owner had until 27 January 2017 to comply with the EPA notice that required an environmental assessment of its soil and groundwater.
“If the results of the assessment confirm there is contamination at the site, further notices could be issued that require any legacy pollution to be removed, which would ensure no environmental impacts continue to exist at the site,” Dr Pigdon said.
This issue serves as a reminder to landowners, and potential purchasers of land, to be aware of potential contamination issues resulting from a business and/or past operations at a site.
EPA urges members of the public to continue reporting suspected pollution to EPA on 1300 372 842 (1300 EPA VIC) or at www.epa.vic.gov.au