Better engagement for land and groundwater contamination
The EPA’s Principal Adviser Community Engagement, Rachel Hudson presented to the Australian Land and Groundwater Association’s forum on ‘Better Communication and Community Engagement’.
The Association’s membership includes land owners, property developers, consultants, scientists, government and the legal profession.
The presentation was delivered to provide guidance, tips and case studies to help industry better understand and meet their responsibilities to the community where land or groundwater has been identified to be contaminated.
Ms Hudson said the presentation included the ‘why’ and ‘how’ to engage based on the methods employed by the EPA, and on international principles.
“Like all industrialised cities, Adelaide and South Australian regional centres are confronted with managing or remediating historical site contamination. The scope of the community engagement plan should be directly proportionate to the size and nature of the extent of the contamination,” she said.
“There is a legislative requirement in South Australia for the EPA to be notified when there has been a detection of groundwater contamination on a site. The EPA administers and enforces the Environment Protection Act 1993 to ensure responsible parties undertake this work appropriately.
“The EPA expects that the person who has liability for site contamination will undertake or fund a communication and engagement program.
“When contamination has been identified, there should be a two-way conversation between decision makers and the people those decisions affect,” she said.
“Engaging effectively and early with the community is key to building trusted and informed relationships,” she said.
Brad Williams from Flinders Power also presented at the forum, sharing information on lessons learned to enhance its community engagement strategy.