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In 2001, the use of certain pesticides, fungicides and other veterinary chemicals were banned in Victoria following an international treaty to protect human health and the environment from persistent pollutants.
ChemCollect was a nationally coordinated program established to collect and safely dispose of wastes, including pesticides, fungicides and other veterinary chemicals. Approximately 235 tonnes were collected in Victoria and 1676 tonnes were collected nationwide.
Most of the collected chemicals were able to be treated, disposed of or destroyed safely and easily at the time. However EPA, on behalf of the State Government, currently manages a stockpile of 80 tonnes that were unable to be treated due to them being a complex mix of pesticides.
Until recently, there has not been a viable and safe solution for the treatment and destruction of these chemical wastes and they have been securely and safely stored in Melbourne over the past 15 years.
Fortunately, technology at waste management facilities has since evolved to now allow these chemical wastes to be treated and destroyed safely.
To relieve the burden of ongoing chemical waste storage in Victoria, EPA is overseeing a small-scale chemical waste disposal trial. As part of the trial, five waste management facilities across Victoria and Queensland were invited to submit a proposal on how they would treat and safely dispose of the chemical waste.
Following a rigorous and extensive technical and commercial assessment, only two facilities were selected to trial their proposed treatment methodologies: Sterihealth in Laverton, Victoria and Toxfree in Narangba, Queensland.
Both facilities will be given approximately half a tonne of the waste to treat as part of the trial.
The trials will determine which of the available technologies can best resolve this ongoing environmental issue from the commercial and technical perspective.
EPA will oversee the trials to ensure they are conducted according to best practice methods that EPA enforces for the treatment and destruction of similar chemicals.
The trials are expected to commence in early 2016 and will run for three months.
EPA will keep the community informed on how the trial is progressing.
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