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Dutson Downs EIP Advisory Committee meet for the third time

The Dutson Downs Environment Improvement Plan Advisory Committee held its third meeting on Monday

By Gippsland Water - 10th October 2001 - Back to News

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The Dutson Downs Environment Improvement Plan Advisory Committee held its third meeting on Monday October 8 at ACES in Sale. Although still in its early stages, the committee has been subject to a wide range of presentations and views regarding practices related to the role of the Dutson Downs Resource Recovery Facility.

The aim of the committee is to help Gippsland Water develop an Environment Improvement Plan (EIP) for the Dutson Downs Resource Recovery Facility and to assist the implementation and monitoring of this plan.

The committee is an important forum for Gippsland Water to hear about community concerns. It will provide advice about community needs and expectations in waste management, minimisation and recovery methods, as well as promoting a better understanding in the community.

Membership of the committee is made up of a cross section of people from local interest and community groups, local government, tourism bodies, major industry and regulatory authorities. The independent Chairperson is Ms Toni Meek of the Environment Protection Authority Victoria.

At the first meeting, held on August 29, all members were given the opportunity to express their views and expectations of the committee and an extensive issues list has been developed, which will be gradually worked through as part of the EIP process. Committee members are keen to ensure the community is well informed of its activities and want to provide for maximum community input into the process.

Over the course of the next two meetings, the committee has had detailed discussion on issues concerning the community, including those relating to Gippsland Water’s vision for the site, the treatment of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM), and Gippsland Water’s Expression of Interest for the acceptance of contaminated soils as part of the Government’s Hazardous Waste Siting Advisory Committee (HWSAC) Project.

A full tour and inspection of the Dutson Downs site was conducted prior to the commencement of the second meeting . This was followed by a presentation on the contents of the Dutson Downs Site Management Plan (DDSMP), which outlines Gippsland Water’s vision for the site. The aim of this plan, commissioned in 1998 and endorsed by the Board in mid-2000, is to optimise the entire 8000 ha property. It seeks to integrate economic, cultural, archaeological and ecological values as well as the core business of waste management.

Gippsland Water has also briefed the committee on the State Government’s Hazardous Waste Siting Advisory Committee (HWSAC) Expression of Interest process for the treatment and recycling of contaminated soils. The Committee was informed that Gippsland Water would be submitting a formal expression of interest for the acceptance and treatment of contaminated soils at Dutson Downs.

The process to be adopted by the HWSAC, as understood by Gippsland Water, was outlined. Submissions from across the State will be individually assessed against detailed criteria in order to prepare a draft list of potential sites. For those sites short-listed, the HWSAC has indicated they will then engage in an extensive consultation process with stakeholders and communities potentially affected by the proposed sites prior to recommending any preferred sites.

The other major point of discussion has involved the acceptance of oily sands at the Dutson Downs facility from the ESSO Australia Pty Ltd site at Longford. These oily sands have been found to contain NORM and ESSO have presented the committee with results of their risk assessment. The research has indicated that levels of radiation in this NORM is extremely low and of no risk to the health of the community and the environment. Gippsland Water has received a works approval from the Environment Protection Authority to accept these wastes, however, in light of community concern, has not proceeded with doing so.

The committee indicated at their last meeting that they would like more information on the NORM’s issue before providing advice to Gippsland Water on what they believe would be appropriate future action. As a result, independent industry experts will be in attendance at the next committee meeting, to be held on November 12.

Those people who would like further information on the workings of the Dutson Downs EIP Advisory Committee are invited to visit Gippsland Water’s website at or by phoning 1800 057 057.


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