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Human Waste Disposal Needs Stricter Regulations

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Tags: Environment, Waste, Water, Water Quality

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Environment spokesperson
Senator Peter Whish-Wilson | Greens Senator for Tasmania


Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP:

The Greens will seek an urgent briefing with the Environment Protection Agency to understand whether existing regulations are capable of protecting water catchments and farmland from bio-solid and industrial processing pollutants.

The death of nearly 120,000 trout at the Salmon Ponds due to a discharge of waste-water from a composting facility underscores existing concerns about the location of bio-solid and primary industry waste disposal facilities around Tasmania. 

There are big questions about whether the EPA’s current regulations are functioning properly to protect river health and human water supplies from toxic and hazardous waste leachates and accidental spills.

Toxic chemicals, plastics, and pathogens can all be present in bio-solids. Tasmania needs a solution to managing our human and industrial waste, with strict environmental regulations to make sure these hazardous materials don’t end up leaching into our waterways or being accidentally discharged.

It is essential that operators who do the wrong thing feel the full weight of the law and not just a slap on the wrist.

Senator Peter Whish-Wilson:

Reports of an investigation into discharge from a bio-solids treatment facility resulting in a polluted river and fish mortalities is a cause for concern.

We can’t afford to take any risks with our water supplies or environment.

After recently meeting with local groups who are concerned about the proliferation and use of bio-solid waste in their communities, environment and water catchments, I am looking further into federal responsibilities relating to guidelines, classifications, testing, treatment and regulation of bio-solids.  

We share community concern that, at least in Tasmania, some of these issues seem to have largely flown under the radar.