Brimbank and Hobsons Bay’s Officer for the Protection of the Local Environment (OPLE) has teamed up with council staff to undertake a widescale stormwater contamination prevention project.
The project aims to reduce stormwater contamination caused by oil and fuel run off from car wrecking and scrap metal businesses, which are common local industries.
"Brimbank and Hobsons Bay councils identified stormwater quality as an area where EPA assistance through the OPLE program could make a significant difference,” the OPLE said.
Since starting work in early-2018, the OPLE has inspected more than 20 businesses with council staff to assess their environmental risks and improve compliance.
“A joint inspection of a wreckers in Williamstown North during April 2018 uncovered oil leaking from skip bins full of vehicle engines, seeping into the ground and trailing towards a nearby stormwater pit.”
"The wrecker is next to a creek that flows into a nearby marine sanctuary and wetland conservation reserve, so it was important that the business took remedial action.”
The OPLE issued a Clean Up Notice to remove the oil on the ground and a Pollution Abatement Notice to install controls to prevent oil running into the stormwater pit. The business worked with the OPLE to ensure compliance with the notices.
“Management were receptive to change and are happy with the way the site works now as it’s more effective.”
The new stormwater protection system has cut-in drains which drains the oil into sump pits, which is then removed from the site by a licenced contractor.
The OPLE has issued four businesses with remedial notices during the project, but many others have taken voluntary action to address environmental concerns.
“We’re visiting businesses right across the municipalities and have seen some big improvements in the sites visited so far.”
Further information about effective liquid storage and handling can be found here. EPA is also working with the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce to develop new guidance materials for the automotive parts recycling industry, which are due to be released in mid-2019.