Clean up the Midways Plantation pollution

In 2009, a 520-hectare pine plantation, located at Kilmore East, owned, and managed by Midway Ltd Plantations was clear-felled by the company. In early 2010, the site was aerial sprayed with a herbicide spray mix which included Glyphosate and Simazine. In August 2010, Simazine was detected at 20 parts per billion, 10,000% above the Victorian State Environment Protection Policy harm value for the ecosystem, discharging off the plantation into a privately owned farm and farm dam downstream of the plantation. The EPA described the dam as located on a tributary of Sunday Creek off Broadford- Wandong Road Kilmore. Simazine and Atrazine were still detected 3 years later. Both Simazine and Atrazine are endocrine disruptors. Levels as low as 0.1 part per billion can impact on hormones, across a range of species.

In addition, EPA found high levels of sediment causing turbidity was washing off the plantation and filling the farm dam.

After a protracted EPA process, EPA issued Pollution Abatement and Pollution Clean Up Notices. Work to remove the sediment started in December 2014. Approximately 32,000 tonnes of sediment (>60 tonnes a hectare), requiring 2,500 truckloads was removed from the dam. However, with the job half done, the company removed itself from the process. EPA is yet to make a ruling on the matter.

A site visit in April 2015 by Friends of the Earth revealed that much of the sediment from the centre of the dam had not been removed. The site visit also revealed damaging stream erosion upstream and downstream of the dam, due to uncontrolled polluted stormwater flows off the plantation and the reduced capacity of the sediment-choked dam to buffer deluging runoff. In Friends of the Earth’s opinions works to remedy the situation have not eventuated in an ecologically sound outcome. Friends of the Earth also contend that this is probably the worst case of plantation caused pollution recorded in Victoria.

For these reasons, we are asking EPA to make the Midway Plantation return to the downstream property and remedy the problem that they created.

Please sign onto this letter, which will be emailed to EPA CEO Nial Finegan