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Centre slams EPA over Tullamarine landfill site

The Environment Protection Authority is failing to deliver on promises about hazardous waste management at the Tullamarine landfill site almost six months after the release of a damning report from the auditor-general, according to the Western Region Environment Centre.

Released in June, the auditor-general's report, Hazardous Waste Management, found the EPA was "not effectively regulating commerce and industry's management of hazardous waste" and that its "monitoring and inspection activities lack coherence, purpose and co-ordination".

Also that month, the EPA and Environment Minister Gavin Jennings met Tullamarine residents to discuss what should be done to the site.

The WREC has prepared a "report card" that it claims shows a failure by the authority to act on promises made at that meeting.

It ranks the EPA's progress in areas such as human health, groundwater protection, air monitoring and community consultation, and gave the authority an average score of 2.5 out of 10.

WREC director Harry van Moorst said that with the exception of an agreement to complete a cancer study, which covers only some of the potential cancer and other health issues related to the toxic dump risks, no significant progress had been made.

He said improvements needed to properly rehabilitate the site, including a cap over the landfill and air monitoring, had stalled.

"At this stage, they have only begun to fulfil their promise. There are still serious gaps in what they promised. They promised air monitoring would be looked at as a matter of priority and proper air monitoring would be instituted.

"But there is still no change to air monitoring and no improvement."

Mr van Moorst said the EPA had not improved sufficiently enough to give the community confidence.

But EPA director Matt Vincent said it had put a number of measures in place, including a review of the landfill cap, ongoing management of the site and the Cancer Council health study.

He said the bulk of the work on these measures was expected to be completed by the end of the year and reported back to the community early next year.

An air-monitoring program was being developed and scheduled to start early next year.

Mr Vincent said the landfill site was undergoing rehabilitation, which was being carried out by operators Transpacific Industries.

Source: The Hume Weekly:

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