Tormorrow: EPA Community Consultation

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EPA PLANS TO STORE PFAS WASTE IN McLAREN VALE

2-8pm Thursday 30 July 2020

PFAS = Polyfluoroalkyl Substances

Did you know that the EPA is considering allowing storage of PFAS-contaminated waste in McLaren Vale?

All of our Council region benefits from the tourism generated from this area and I cannot fathom why anyone would support such a notion when it puts our branding as a quality wine region on the line. And it’s not just our wines. Our region has many local food artisans which pride themselves on untainted produce. This proposal is not in the interests of our community from both a safety or an enconomic point of view.

What is PFAS anyway?

Chemicals under the umbrella name of PFAS have only recently been identified as a health risk. You may have heard of PFAS in recent years with concerns where this chemical type had been used as a fire suppressant and impacts of housing near training facilities where these were used?

What makes it risky?

PFAS compounds easily dissolve in water, making it likely that any leaching or accidental leaking from the facility would impact surrounding ground water resources. This gives rise to concern for our local environment, our local agriculture, viticulture and food businesses and our tourism economy.

What are the risks?

At this stage, we do not know the full extent of the long-term effects of these chemicals on the environment or for us individually. What we do know is that it does create significant risks in exposed populations, some requiring futher research to fully understand the extent, including:- increased cholesterol among exposed populations, – low infant birth weights,- immune system impacts,- cancer (for PFOA),- and thyroid hormone disruption (for PFOS). Aside from the potential safety aspects, the City of Onkaparinga and the entire state gain huge economic benefits from McLaren Vale’s branding and reputation as a sustainable wine region.The perception alone of storage of PFAS contaminated material within 500 metres of the closest vineyards is very likely to undermine decades of promotion for the region, and negatively impact our international reputation for ‘clean and green’ produce.

Why hadn’t I heard about it before now?

Well, as a result of not being able to have large public meetings the EPA have managed to by-pass our usually passionate community who tends to come together to discuss and debate such a proposal and to corporately advocate for the best interests of our area.Despite recieving over 100 submissions from members of the community it appears that the EPA is planning to steam roll the community. They have already commenced construction on the planned site!I agree with our Mayor, Erin Thompson, that, “The strong community opposition to this proposal should not be ignored.”

What can I do?

  1. Right now, it’s time to arm yourself with further information. The EPA is holding a community information session this Thursday 30 July, 2-8pm. Please take the time, if you can, to attend and find out more.
  2. Be prepared to hear more about this also in coming weeks.
  3. If you are so motivated, you may be interested in signing the petition for ‘No PFAS’. Please note that this petition is administered by Leon Bignell M.P. and any questions regarding the use of your personal information relating to this petition should be directed to his office (as no detail has been provided in the petition details).

I am bitterly disappointed that I cannot be there myself but will be send someone to attend in proxy.

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