Independent expert panel

The independent expert panel set up by the EPA to provide advice as part of the ongoing investigations and monitoring in the Cadia Valley has held its first meeting.

The Panel will consider and advise the EPA on potential sources of pollutants and pathways and on controls to reduce the risk of harm to the environment and the community.

The Panel will also provide advice to ensure that a comprehensive program of sampling is being conducted, based on the best available science, and importantly ensure the community is provided with the best advice on what is being done and why.

The panel is made up of nine members

  • Annabelle Duncan – Chair – Professor Emeritus, University of New England; Chair, NSW Physical Sciences Fund
  • Lidia Morawska – Member – Distinguished Professor and Australian Laureate Fellow in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Queensland University of Technology
  • Warwick Dougherty – Member – Director, Environment Protection Science, Environment and HeritageGroup, Department of Planning and Environment
  • Dr Ian A Wright – Member – Associate Professor, Western Sydney University
  • Mark Taylor – Member – Chief Environmental Scientist, Environment Protection Authority Victoria
  • Kishen Lachireddy – Member – Principal Advisor, Health Protection NSW, Ministry of Health
  • Daniel Deere – Member – Water Futures Proprietary Limited
  • Dr Simit Raval – Member – Associate Professor, School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering, University of NSW
  • Philip Worrad – Member – Coordinator, Rural Adversity Mental Health Program, Western NSW Local Health District

At the first meeting on Friday 4 August, the Panel discussed

  • the relevant NSW environmental legislation and the regulatory framework
  • Cadia Valley Operations (CVO), the environmental context, and actions to address potential environmental risks
  • the EPA’s regulation of CVO to date
  • the community’s concerns
  • an overview of the monitoring/modelling conducted, underway and being developed.

At the meeting, the Panel members had a focused discussion and provided their insights on the water, soil and air sampling program.

Expert Panel Chair Annabelle Duncan said the Panel discussed water sampling in detail confirming that the results of the EPA’s testing so far show how important it is to maintain tanks and tank water distribution systems to ensure a safe supply of drinking water regardless of the source of the contaminants.

“The Panel members have extensive expertise in water science and management and agreed that tanks should be kept clean, and systems flushed to minimise the risk associated with contaminants in rainwater tanks," Ms Duncan said.

“Panel members also made suggestions about further sampling to investigate any potential exceedances of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, and importantly to better understand the quality of tank water in areas located away from industrial activities.

“On the recommendation of the Panel, the EPA will also work with community members to understand how community testing has been carried out to date, to ensure that all future monitoring is taken in a consistent and standardised way.”

The Panel will meet again in the coming weeks and will hear from the local community in the Cadia Valley about their concerns.