Throughout October to December 2013 EPA Victoria geared up its’ commitment to
improving Victoria’s water quality with a round of targeted inspections of
A total of 40 businesses were inspected as part of the strategy which aimed to
tackle pollution to water and land from the electroplating industry.
Director Environmental Regulation Chris Webb said electroplaters were
prioritised because of the environmental risks posed by the heavy metals and
chemicals they use as one of EPA’s Annual Compliance Plan top 6 priorities for
2013-14 – stormwater.
“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 Webb said. “In 2011, an initial round of inspections
highlighted significant non-compliance and sampling of a Melbourne creek showed
elevated levels of particular metals.”
Sixty-two per cent of inspected sites received a notice with a total of 38
notices including Clean-Up Notices and Pollution Abatement Notices issued. Some
businesses received more than one notice and eight businesses are under further
“Environment Protection Officers found that the most common reasons for a
notice included improper storage of chemicals and wastes, lack of bunding or
bunding not maintained, and inadequate maintenance of plating tanks, baths and
other leaking infrastructure,” Mr Webb said. “The proper identification and
disposal of filter cake waste was also an issue.
“As a result of the inspections EPA will hold an Open House event for all
electroplaters at the end of March (date TBC) to feedback the results of the
inspections and provide information and advice to support to comply.”
Further to this, in late March, EPA will commence targeted work at Eumemmering
Creek in Dandenong as part of Action 9 of the A Cleaner Yarra River and Port
Phillip Bay – A Plan of Action.
Eumemmering Creek was selected as a key focus when preliminary investigations
found elevated levels of barium and aromatic hydrocarbons.
Support to comply tips:
· Store chemicals and liquid wastes in a bunded area – bunding guidelines
· Engage an EPA licensed waste transporter to regularly collect your filter
cake and other hazardous waste
· Check and repair your plating baths, tanks and concrete to ensure there are