Chemical waste in Victoria will be electronically monitored from July this year under a state government crackdown on the illegal storage of hazardous material.
Minister for Environment Lily D’Ambrosio announced the EPA would invest $5.5 million to switch to a fully GPS electronic tracking system to better record the production, movement and receipt of industrial waste.
The EPA currently uses a mix of electronic and paper waste transport certificates – with up to 100,000 paper certificates received each year.
Ms D’Ambrosio said the new system would enable the EPA to monitor the movement of waste more quickly and more accurately, compared to paper certificates which can be time consuming and difficult to process.
“Moving to a fully electronic GPS tracking system will mean we know when and where these chemicals are being moved and stored – so we can identify potentially illegal activity and catch these criminals in the act,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.
“This move will see the EPA phase out the paper certificates by 1 July 2019, ensuring all certificates are recorded electronically.”
EPA Chief Executive Officer Dr Cathy Wilkinson said the introduction of the electronic system would enable the EPA to better track the movement of waste, and help the regulatory body detect potential risks and intervene earlier.
“A new integrated waste tracking tool, with improved data analytics and reporting will also be developed over the next 12 months to deliver insights on sector activity, trends and highlight potential illegal activity,” Dr Wilkinson said.
The tracking system will be finalised by March 2020, giving the industry three months to transition before the new Environment Protection Act legislation comes into effect on 1 July 2020.
The new legislation will introduce modern surveillance devices, tougher penalties and a greater focus on industry responsibility to proactively manage risks to human health and the environment.