Defence Site Maribyrnong (DSM) is a 127.8 ha parcel of Commonwealth land, in Cordite Avenue, Maribyrnong. The Department of Defence (Defence) has started the process of selling the site on the open market on behalf of the Commonwealth. It is anticipated that the site will ultimately move from Commonwealth to Victorian jurisdiction.
The DSM offers an opportunity for major urban renewal in an established area already undergoing significant growth and transformation.
Soil and groundwater investigations have been conducted at the site, and indicate that there is contamination present.
The Victorian Minister for Planning has instructed the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) to lead the planning for DSM in collaboration with the Maribyrnong City Council, Transport for Victoria, other state and local government partners, and the community.
EPA is supporting VPA, and other state and local government partners in the development of a site remediation strategy. The strategy will inform the community and potential land purchasers about our expectations. It aims to ensure that future development makes the most of the site, while protecting the environment, particularly land, groundwater and air, human health and the maintenance of ecosystems.
What is EPA's role?
EPA is responsible for administering the Victorian environment protection framework.
In our role as the State's environmental regulator, we will work with the purchaser (or purchasers) and other government agencies to ensure that:
1. The site is audited
EPA is responsible for administering Victoria's environmental audit system under Part IXD of the Environment Protection Act 1970 (EP Act). The site's historical use has caused land and groundwater contamination, and Defence has undertaken initial environmental assessment and remediation works. An environmental audit of the site has started, and is being conducted in accordance with s53X of the EP Act, including the engaging an EPA-appointed auditor. This has resulted in a statement of environmental audit under s53Z, and a certificate of environmental audit under s53Y being issued for part of the site.
We consider it necessary for the entire site to be audited through the Victorian audit system to ensure the nature and extent of contamination is fully assessed.
2. Clean up and remediation of the site takes place
The audit process requires the preparation of a cleanup plan to address soil and groundwater contamination.
We will work with VPA, government agencies and other stakeholders to develop a site remediation strategy which considers suitable remediation options for the site. Options could include offsite disposal (to an appropriately licensed facility), offsite or onsite treatment, or onsite containment. EPA approvals, permits and regulations may apply based on the remediation options chosen.
Where it is not practicable to fully clean up polluted groundwater, we must be satisfied that it has been (or will be) remediated to the extent practicable in accordance with State Environment Protection Policy (Groundwaters of Victoria).
3. Approval and permit applications in place
Waste treatment and storage facilities (including containment of contaminated soils) may require approval from EPA. In addition, we are responsible for administering the Victorian permit system for the transport of prescribed industrial waste (which includes certain contaminated soils) and for assessing proposals to reuse contaminated soil.
The Environment Protection (Scheduled Premises) Regulations 2017 sets out the types of industrial facilities that require a works approval to be built.
The developers of these facilities need to demonstrate that the facility will be consistent with State environment protection policies and waste management policies. For waste management facilities, Best Practice Environmental Management: Siting, Design, Operation and Rehabilitation of Landfills (Landfill BPEM) (publication 788.3) sets out criteria EPA applies when assessing applications.
Permits and reuse of contaminated soil
The Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009 set out the legislative requirements for transporting certain types of waste in Victoria, including some types of contaminated soil.
This framework requires these wastes to be transported using a vehicle with an EPA permit, and with a waste transport certificate accompanying the load. These wastes can only be transported to facilities licensed by EPA.
There may be circumstances where contaminated soils from DSM could be reused. Proposals for reuse of the contaminated soil may require an EPA authorisation. We will assess any proposals in accordance with the Environment Protection (Industrial Waste Resource) Regulations 2009 and we may issue an authorisation, with or without conditions.
This information is for general guidance only. It does not constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on as a statement of the law in any jurisdiction. Because it is intended only as a general guide, it may contain generalisations. Potential investors, developers and owners of the site should seek independent legal and environmental advice on their obligations under Victorian and Commonwealth regulatory frameworks.
EPA has made every reasonable effort to provide current and accurate information, but it does not make any guarantees regarding the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information.