Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) will continue to assist all agencies in the clean up and recovery effort following the recent storms and flood conditions.
Widespread damage to homes, businesses and farms have been reported with as many as 129 homes deemed damaged uninhabitable with a further 135 damaged but habitable.
“There will be an increase in demolition waste as the recovery process moves through with a subsequent increase in construction as repairs and home rebuilds pick up,” said EPA CEO Lee Miezis.
“No one wants to see any further damage done to the environment or the community through poor management of that waste so we’ll be able to assist and advise on how to dispose of it in the most appropriate way,” he said.
“Our farmers too have been hard hit with machinery and building damage as well as stock losses, and here again EPA will assist AgVic with advice on the best way of managing those situations without creating potential further damage.
“And this recovery effort will be ongoing as we move to the new Environment Protection Act which will have an effect on how waste disposal is managed so again, we’ll be on hand to assist with those changes and making sure no one is inadvertently breaching the new laws after 1 July.”
Mr Miezis said EPA was also supporting with the Yallourn Mine incident, to ensure license conditions could be varied to manage the damage there. Under section 30A of the Environment Protection Act 1970, EPA can approve emergency discharges from licensed sites.
EPA received applications under section 30A from Engie (for Hazelwood mine) and Energy Australia (for Yallourn mine). Both applications have been approved and will allow Engie to pump out water from Hazelwood pondage which is over its capacity limitations, and Energy Australia to pump waters from their current water storages to the Latrobe River, in order to enable repairs on the Morwell River Diversion pipeline.
In determining these applications, EPA worked closely with DELWP, Earth Resources Regulator and the State Controller to ensure the decision is consistent with the requirements of the declaration of the State Energy Emergency.
“We’re working closely with Bushfire Recovery Victoria, DELWP, ERR, AgVic, and all agencies to assist where we can to get the best result for the community.”