Pacific Environment and CRC CARE

In 2014 Pacific Environment became and Associate member of CRC CARE.  CRC CARE is a Cooperative Research Centre that has been established through funding by the Commonwealth and State Governments with contribution from industry to address the environmental issues around the assessment and remediation of contaminated sites in Australia. 

Although the NEPM (Assessment of Site Contamination) establishes the national framework for assessment of contaminated land in Australia there is no nationally agreed framework to guide the remediation of contaminated land.  CRC CARE have addressed this by developing the National Remediation Framework (NRF).  CRC CARE are also involved in established guidelines for contaminants of emerging concern.

Since joining CRC CARE Pacific Environment has been successful in winning two key projects:

  • Development of Site Specific Remediation Objectives
  • Guidance of the Assessment, Remediation and Management of MTBE.

EnviroSuite-process-1 First Project with CRC CARE  – Remediation Process

The first of these projects forms part of the NRF as establishes the process for determining how the endpoint of the remediation process is determined.  It establishes numerical values that can be applied to determine whether the environmental values identified for the site are protected providing measurable endpoints for remediation.  This enables closure on the remediation process with appropriate longer term management and monitoring actions if residual contamination is present.

EnviroSuite-process-2 Second Project with CRC CARE – Groundwater MTBE Levels

The second project has involved the development of odours and ecological screening levels for MTBE in groundwater.  MTBE is not added to fuels in Australia but is present in imported fuels as a contaminant at concentrations less than 1%.  Prior to the fuel quality regulations being implemented in 2001 fuels with high MTBE concentrations (up to 15%) were allowed to be imported into Australia which has created a number of legacy sites with groundwater being contaminated.  Pacific Environment is developing the guidance document that will provide the framework for the assessment, remediation and management of MTBE in Australia and will incorporate the odour and ecological criteria that have been developed by PE staff.