Kaniva chemical dump discussion
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.