Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has granted Alcoa of Australia Ltd an extension to a notice issued to its Anglesea site to align it with the plant’s decommissioning schedule and in recognition of the scale of the assessment work still to be completed.
The notice outlining the site’s environmental assessment process is now due for compliance by September 2019; the previous compliance date was October 2017.
EPA South West Manager Carolyn Francis said EPA was continuing its discussions with the community to ensure they were kept up to date with the process.
“EPA recognises that the remediation and future use of the site is of great local community and state-wide interest,” Ms Francis said.
“However, it needs to be understood that the clean-up process will take time and needs to be thorough and well planned so that the site can provide important environmental and community benefits for the region into the future,” Ms Francis said.
Requirements of the notice include:
- Completing an environmental site assessment of the extent of contamination in soil and groundwater on and from the premises by 30 September 2019;
- Continuing to use an EPA-appointed environmental auditor to oversee the site assessment and commence environmental auditing of the premises to inform the next phase of clean-up at the site; and
- Should any contamination that poses an unacceptable risk to the environment be found during the course of the environmental site assessment, Alcoa must develop and implement a clean-up plan to manage that contamination.
Ms Francis said that remediation activities would be determined following the conclusion of land and groundwater contamination assessments EPA required under the notice, and would align with future land uses.
“As decommissioning and assessment works progress, EPA will issue further notices to clean up the site if necessary. EPA will work with Alcoa, through the use of its regulatory tools, to ensure Alcoa is held to account and that the clean-up is completed in a thorough manner,” Ms Francis said.
The notice does not apply to the mine area, which is regulated by DEDJTR through Earth Resources Regulation branch, and excludes the on-site landfill which is still operating under EPA licence.
The notice also requires quarterly reporting to EPA.