Industry News

Clean-up of toxic dump sites set to begin at the end of the month

The clean-up of eight toxic waste dump sites in Melbourne’s north are set to begin at the end of January, as authorities identify some of the 1.5 million litres of chemicals found on the properties, according to a report on The Age.

Authorities estimate that there are about one million to 1.5 million litres of chemicals stores across the eight properties, which they said were packed from floor to ceiling with containers.

Report stated that preliminary tests of industrial-sized bins and drums at both the Epping and Campbellfield warehouses have found traces of industrial solvent methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), automotive and house paints, aerosols and LPG cylinders.

Expected to take several months to complete, the clean-up operation will be conducted along with extensive fire prevention and security measures, amid concerns about potential fires of spills.

According to WorkSafe, the removal operation remains complex and specialist contractors are being engaged. The planning includes informing nearby schools, hospitals, businesses and infrastructure operators about the risks of the clean-up, while also developing emergency response plans.

Early this month, the regulator seized direct control over the properties from the individual allegedly responsible for stockpiling the highly flammable and toxic chemicals, amid mounting public safety concerns. This intervention allows WorkSafe to manage the clean-up a lot better.

Under the current system, the purchase, storage, transportation and disposal of hazardous chemicals are monitored by the EPA and WorkSafe. However, the process largely relies on businesses self-reporting activity.