As the year draws to a close I would like to take this opportunity to thank Monitor readers—our many stakeholders, licensees, partners, members of the community and colleagues—for your ongoing support and interest in the work of the EPA over the last 12 months.
It has been an eventful year with a number of highlights:
Our 2013–14 annual report includes details of this work and highlights for the first six months of the year including:
- the EPA’s significant input into legislation passed by the state government as part of the Nyrstar transformation project and the state government decision to approve the redevelopment of the lead and zinc smelter
- our study of noise impacts from the Waterloo Wind Farm
- publication of the first series of nearshore marine aquatic ecosystem condition reports.
Since July we have also seen:
- the presentation of an EPA licence to Kimberly-Clark Australia (KCA), representing the culmination of many years of work with the Millicent paper mill to transition from their 50-year indenture and achieve major improvements in their environmental performance for the benefit of the nearby Lake Bonney and local community
- ongoing input to the state government planning review—Our Ideas for Reform
- a new improved annual compliance plan for 2014–15 providing transparent reporting on our regulatory work.
Our main challenge for the year has been the ongoing management of the state’s legacy site contamination with a particular focus on Clovelly Park and Mitchell Park. Recent testing to determine the extent of the contamination has been the most extensive testing program undertaken by the EPA and indeed by any organisation in the southern hemisphere. The latest results announced earlier this month provide the clearest picture yet of the exposure risk and environmental conditions in the area with vapour intrusion which was found to be limited to just 9 of the 1,400 properties. Relocation of these affected residents by Housing SA is nearly completed.
It was therefore timely for me to be an invited guest of the Taiwan Government to attend the International Conference on Remediation and Management Strategies of Soil and Groundwater Pollution held in Taipei late last month. The 3-day conference showcased international guest speakers sharing knowledge and experiences on regulation of pollutants, innovative technologies and site contamination management strategies.
I also attended a meeting of EPA heads from 8 from Asia Pacific countries, to discuss the status of regulatory frameworks and issues such as the availability of environmental funds for remediation of ‘orphaned’ sites.
South Australia’s EPA represents Australia on the Working Group on Remediation for Soil and Groundwater Pollution of the Asian and Pacific Region. This group promotes research activities, including through the Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC CARE), policy development and management strategies for remediation techniques on soil and groundwater contaminated sites.
We are looking forward to another busy year in 2015—the 20th year of environment protection through the Environment Protection Act 1993 which came into effect in 1995. Importantly next year will see the finalisation of our new Strategic Plan (for 2015–18) which will set the agenda for better environmental outcomes and seek to identify ways the EPA, as the regulator, can work with business, community and government to achieve a more prosperous future for South Australia.
I wish you all the very best for a safe and relaxing holiday season and a sustainable and successful year in 2015.