Soiled soil gets boost in funding

By Riverine Herald

THE Riverina and Murray Joint Organisation of Councils (JOC) has been awarded a $419,460 grant by the NSW Government.

Part of the $4 million council regional capacity building program, Member for Murray Austin Evans said the grant would enable Riverina and Murray JOC to employ a skilled contaminated land professional for up to three years

“Throughout that time they will develop a contaminated land management policy framework, a register of contaminated sites and provide training on contaminated land management issues to local councils in Murray,’’ he said.

“Their expertise will assist councils when they are dealing with land contamination issues arising from historical underground fuel tank leaks or land which was formerly used for industrial activities, for example.

“Bringing this expertise to our region and upskilling councils through training will help to protect our community and environment.’’

The funding is part of a NSW Government commitment of $23.5 million over the next four years to improve the management of contaminated land in New South Wales.

“The officers can also help with planning the handover of responsibilities for underground petroleum storage systems (UPSS) from the EPA to councils,” Mr Evans said.

Under the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997 (CLM Act), the EPA regulates contaminated land where the contamination is significant enough to warrant regulation.

Contaminated land that is not regulated by the EPA is managed by local councils through land-use planning processes.

The EPA will continue as the appropriate regulatory authority for UPSS matters until August 31, after which councils will take over this role.

The EPA will continue to work with councils to ensure integrated management and regulatory oversight of fuel handling and storage systems.