Onkaparinga calls for EPA to hold urgent meeting on PFAS landfill site

Published on 23 February 2021

Comments attributed to Mayor Erin Thompson.

This morning we woke to the news that the EPA may soon grant a licence variation for the PFAS landfill site at Southern Waste RescourceCo in the middle of our pristine McLaren Vale wine and food region.

I am calling on the EPA to urgently hold a public meeting to explain to our community in detail the finding of a Flinders University report on which the EPA intends to base its decision.

I am extremely disappointed that the media was informed about the EPA’s imminent decision before the report was properly shared with and explained to our local community.

Given this report was commissioned on the basis of community concerns, it is imperative that its findings are shared publicly and our community is consulted before any decision is made regarding granting the licence.

I am deeply concerned with the way this consultation is progressing, and the EPA’s decision to signpost its intention without first rounding back to those with the most to lose is unacceptable.

There are highly technical findings in the report that the community deserves to have explained to them.

An open, honest and transparent approach is what’s needed here with the people who live and work in this area and who have already loudly voiced their concerns.

The group of chemicals known as PFAS is an emerging contaminant and research is continuing regarding the full potential impacts to health and the environment. There is a lot that is unknown at this time.

The granting of this licence variation risks damaging our precious environment and invaluable reputation as a world class producer of wine and food.

To add to the confusion for our community, SWR is running a separate community engagement relating to its licence renewal at the same time. We believe this is yet another reason the decision is delayed.

The economic impacts of COVID-19, the state government’s decision to allow GM crops to be grown in our region damaging global market perception, and the China trade ban have already hurt our local industry.

It now appears the EPA could be moving quickly to a decision that will see the storing of dangerous chemicals smack bang in the middle of one of Australia’s most pristine wine and food regions.

We are determined to make sure our community has every opportunity to have its voice heard, acknowledged and reflected in this decision making process, which could have consequences for generations.

If you feel as strongly as I do, write to the EPA and to Premier Marshall and tell them how you feel about how this process has been managed and the risk PFAS poses, both environmentally and reputationally, in our backyard.


Premier Marshall: premier@sa.gov.au
EPA: epainfo@sa.gov.au