- Incident Date
- 2 April 2022
- Locations Affected
- Curdies River
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) acknowledges the community’s concern about the condition of the Curdies River and is supporting the lead agency/agencies in addressing the issues.
This community update provides information on EPA’s role in these matters.
EPA role in fish death response
The Interim response guide: fish death events provides guidance and clarification on the responsibilities for the various state government agencies to respond and manage fish death events.
It is most likely that agencies or the public will be the first to notice or receive information in relation to a fish death event. The public and agencies should report all fish death events to EPA by calling 1300 EPA VIC (1300 372 842), 24 hours a day.
EPA will assess and triage the report considering size of the event, species, location, potential cause and other relevant factors. If the cause of the fish death is a result of a specific pollution event, then EPA officers will respond directly to investigate.
If it is likely the cause is a natural occurrence such as from an algal bloom, low dissolved oxygen or similar EPA may request assistance or refer the report to other agencies with water or land management responsibilities.
EPA role in blue green algae response
Under state arrangements EPA does not have a specific role in response to blue green algae events. Due to EPA staff’s experience in managing pollution events, we can provide advice to lead other agencies if needed.
EPA role in dairy effluent management
Dairy farms do not require a specific EPA permission to manage effluent in lagoon systems and irrigate to paddocks. Under the Environment Protection Act 2017 (s25) General Environmental Duty (GED), anyone engaging in activities that may give rise to risks of harm to human health or the environment from pollution or waste needs to understand those risks and take reasonably practicable steps to minimise them.
EPA provides guidance to dairy farmers on how to assess and meet their GED obligations, such as the Agriculture - guide to preventing harm to people and the environment. EPA also references more detailed guidance from the Department of Agriculture and Dairy Australia’s Dairy Gains program.
Where these measures are not in place or not adequate, the General Environmental Duty is not being met, which is an offence.
EPA officers have legal powers to inspect premises and to use a range of compliance tools to direct improvements. EPA can also issue sanctions or take enforcement action through the courts. This is done both in response to specific pollution reports and through strategic programs of work.
EPA role in management of dead animals
EPA provides advice on removal and disposal of dead animals, including those needing to be removed from a waterway. EPA works with land managers to advise on site selection and burial arrangements to minimise risks to the environment. Responsibility for the removal and disposal is with the land manager.
Investigating the cause of animal death is usually led by Agriculture Victoria with more information at www.agriculture.vic.gov.au.
Reviewed 16 May 2022