Kaniva chem­i­cal dump dis­cus­sion

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Front Page -

Cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing illegal dump­ing of chem­i­cal waste near Kaniva will be the sub­ject of a com­mu­nity meet­ing in the west Wim­mera town on Tues­day.

En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Author­ity Vic­to­ria of­fi­cials, work­ing with West Wim­mera Shire Coun­cil and GWMWater, have or­gan­ised the in­for­ma­tion ses­sion at Kaniva Shire Hall sup­per room from 11.30am to 2.30pm.

Au­thor­i­ties have or­gan­ised the event amid com­mu­nity un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing the dump site, on pri­vate prop­erty 15 kilo­me­tres south of Kaniva on Kaniva-eden­hope Road.

En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Author­ity Vic­to­ria of­fi­cials have spent sev­eral months at the 566-hectare prop­erty in­ves­ti­gat­ing the illegal dumps.

They be­lieve chem­i­cals, in­clud­ing hy­dro­car­bons and sol­vents, are present in about 20 un­der­ground sites they have so far uncovered.

EPA North West re­gional man­ager Scott Pig­don said Tues­day’s ses­sion would give the author­ity a chance to pro­vide peo­ple with facts about the sit­u­a­tion.

He said the author­ity, us­ing its pre­cau­tion­ary pow­ers, had led in­ves­ti­ga­tions that had in­cluded the use of ground-pen­e­trat­ing radar tech­nol­ogy mounted on drones – a first for an Aus­tralian reg­u­la­tor.

“It has taken some time to be com­pre­hen­sive un­der the cir­cum­stances given the size of the premises, nat­u­ral ge­ol­ogy and the po­ten­tial ar­eas where waste might be present,” Dr Pig­don said.

“Through­out this long and ex­haus­tive in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the safety of the com­mu­nity has been the pri­or­ity.

“Rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties, im­me­di­ate neigh­bours and me­dia have been kept in­formed and there has been no dan­ger to pub­lic from the site.

“At the com­mu­nity in­for­ma­tion ses­sion we want to share what is known as well as an­swer any queries from the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

“It will give us a chance to pro­vide all the facts of the sit­u­a­tion, but through­out, EPA, the wa­ter author­ity and the coun­cil have en­sured pub­lic safety, es­pe­cially to the ground­wa­ter which shows no signs of con­tam­i­na­tion.”

Gwmwater act­ing manag­ing di­rec­tor An­drew Rose said the wa­ter-sup­ply agency had been work­ing closely with the EPA, lo­cal gov­ern­ment and other rel­e­vant agen­cies to en­sure Kaniva’s ground­wa­ter sup­ply was un­af­fected.

“Our mon­i­tor­ing and test­ing continues to re­veal no im­pact on the wa­ter sup­ply,” he said.

“Kaniva res­i­dents are re­minded that Kaniva’s wa­ter sup­ply is a non-drink­ing sup­ply.

“We have been and will con­tinue to mon­i­tor and test the wa­ter reg­u­larly.”

A metropoli­tan me­dia out­let has spec­u­lated about links be­tween the dump site and crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties in Mel­bourne.

The EPA has con­firmed fur­ther de­tails of the Kaniva com­mu­nity meet­ing will be avail­able soon on its web­site www.epa.vic.gov.au.

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