The City of Greater Bendigo will take part in an 18-month trial to assess land contamination

A new method to assess potentially contaminated land across Victoria will be trialled in the City of Greater Bendigo.

An 18-month Preliminary Risk Screen pilot will trial a more efficient and cost-effective method for assessing sites which have a low to medium potential of land contamination.

A Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning spokesperson said DELWP, EPA and EPA-accredited auditors will work with the COGB and state government partners to trial the new assessment.

“The proposed addition of a PRS to the environmental audit system is to offer a less onerous, less expensive way of determining suitability of land for a proposed use for sites with a low to medium potential for contamination,” the spokesperson said.

PRS is an assessment of potential levels of contamination which might be present on a site that would be a risk to human health and the environment.

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The assessment will include a desktop study, site inspection and sampling to determine if there is the potential for contamination and recommend if a more detailed audit is required to be undertaken.

Specific sites where assessment will take place within the City of Greater Bendigo are yet to be determined.

There will be three stages to the trial over 18 months with each stage to receive independent evaluation to allow for improvement as the pilot progresses.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio welcomed the new trial.

“Throughout the independent inquiry into the EPA, stakeholders made it very clear that the environmental audit system needs to be more flexible and proportionate,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“The aim of the Preliminary Risk Screen pilot is to make assessments in a more timely, consistent and cost effective way.”

The PRS pilot was developed as part of the state government’s response to the independent inquiry into the EPA.