Regulator Roundup 20
This edition of Regulator Roundup includes information about EPA Victoria’s new board, the South Australian ban on PFAS, Western Australian guidance on monitored natural attenuation, and the United States EPA's latest budget.
New EPA Victoria board
After the 2016 review of Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria, state Environment Minister the Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio announced eight members of the new board in May 2018. Ms Cheryl Batagol, who had been chairing the EPA’s interim advisory board, stays on as chair of the new board. Mr Greg Tweedly – a director of Melbourne Health, Chair of Dorsavi Ltd and Chair of the Personal Injury Foundation – is the new deputy chair. The other members are:
- Professor Rebekah Brown, Director of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute at Monash University
- Ms Monique Conheady, a commissioner with the Taxi Services Commission, a director with the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation, and a co-founder and director of DC Power Co
- Mr Graeme Ford, former Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Farmers Federation
- Mr Ross Pilling, Chair of Swinburne University’s Industry Research Advisory Committee and the Victorian Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Advisory Council
- Ms Debra Russell, a member of the Department of Justice Audit and Risk Committee, and the Surf Coast Shire Audit and Risk Committee
- Professor Joan Ozanne-Smith AO, Head of Injury Prevention Research at the Department of Forensic Medicine at Monash University.
South Australia bans PFAS firefighting foams
The South Australian Government has banned the use of firefighting foams that contain per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The ban follows amendments to the Environment Protection (Water Quality) Policy 2015, making South Australia the first state to ban the use of potentially hazardous fluorinated firefighting foams through legislation.
EPA South Australia’s Chief Executive, Tony Circelli, said the ban on fluorinated firefighting foams will effectively negate further environmental and human health risks associated with their use.
‘The changes will provide the community and industry with certainty around the use of these products’, he said. ‘The EPA will work directly with industry needing to transition through licensing, guidance and the development of environment improvement programs.’
New Western Australia guidance on monitored natural attenuation
In April 2018, the Western Australian Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) issued a draft state guideline on the use of monitored natural attenuation (MNA) for groundwater clean-up.
The draft guideline requires that MNA should result in a decrease in the concentration or mass of contamination, and there must be geochemical and biochemical indicators of natural attenuation.
Adoption of MNA as a remediation strategy must include a contingency plan in the event that natural attenuation is unsuccessful. The guideline gives DWER the right to ensure that the organisation applying for approval MNA can fund such contingencies.
The consultation period closed on 8 June 2018. DWER is analysing submissions and will revise the draft guideline accordingly.
United States EPA budget maintained
Despite an uncertain environment for the United States (US) EPA, its funding was maintained in new Financial Year Budget announcements in March 2018.
President Trump proposed cuts to the US EPA, which the US Congress rejected. This maintained EPA’s total funding at its 2017 level – US$8.1 billion. Within that total, funding for science and technology was also maintained at US$706 million.
US Congress also allocated US$7 million to the Pentagon for a nationwide study on the health effects of PFAS in drinking water, focusing on PFOS and PFOA. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry will conduct the research.