In a sign of the regulator’s growing intolerance of the slow rate of progress, Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has asked the owner of the site of an illegal waste dump 15 kilometres south of Kaniva, near Lemon Springs, to show cause why the authority should not use its regulatory powers to step in to take over management and clean up of the site’s environmental issues.

Further action will be determined once the owner, Mr Graham White, has been given an opportunity to respond. Meanwhile, EPA is on site regularly and progressing its investigation.

 

While recent testing continues to show no signs of contamination to groundwater, exploratory excavation works show the 20 dispersed waste dumps contain a volume of waste of up to 8,000 cubic metres of solid and liquid waste. EPA estimates of this volume, three to five million litres, which is likely to contain solvents, hydrocarbons and associated liquid waste. The total area covered by the dump sites is around 2 acres of the 1,400 acre property (<0.2%).

 

EPA has also constructed additional bores as well as completing on-site and off-site groundwater testing.

 

Other actions which have now been completed include:

 

  • Profiling of the soil layers below the surface;

  • Excavation at three of the more significant sites suspected of buried waste; and

  • Additional drone flights with Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) over the property.

     

    “Tests continue to show no signs of contamination to the groundwater. We are making good progress in understanding the problems this site poses and therefore potential solutions,” said Dr Scott Pigdon, EPA North West Regional Manager.

     

    Samples from excavated containers have been sent for analysis to an independent NATA accredited laboratory.

     

    All excavated waste has been placed in a secure and bunded area on the property. This waste will be removed from the site and taken to an appropriately licensed facility by the end of November in accordance with transport of Dangerous Goods legislation

     

“During any excavation works carried out by EPA or contractors there is on site emergency management for contingencies including fire. This includes the presence of onsite small spot fire fighting equipment such as extinguishers and fire blankets as well as a rapid fire response in line with CFA classifications.

“EPA, representatives from GWMWater, West Wimmera Shire Council, Agriculture Victoria, WorkSafe and the Country Fire Authority (CFA), will be able to give a more detailed report to the community when we come together on 21 November in Kaniva.”

 

Community meeting

 

EPA will hold a meeting to update you with the latest information from the illegal waste dump site. EPA will be joined by representatives from GWMWater, West Wimmera Shire Council, Agriculture Victoria, WorkSafe and the Country Fire Authority (CFA).

 

Come along to the meeting to receive an update and the opportunity to put questions to EPA and other relevant government organisations.

 

When:              Thursday 21 November 2019

Time:               5pm to 6.30pm

Where:             Kaniva Shire Hall, Baker Street, Kaniva

RSVP:              Registrations are important.  Please register via email at northwest.mailbox@epa.vic.gov.au

 

Further information and feedback

Reviewed 16 November 2019