Monitoring of polychlorinated biphenyls in Australia
In November 1995, the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments endorsed a PCB management plan. This plan provides a framework for the safe management of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) by all spheres of government, PCB waste treaters and PCB holders. The plan requires that scheduled PCBs be removed from use within 13 years.
The management plan also requires that a nationally coordinated and statistically valid PCB sampling and monitoring program be carried out to determine whether concentrations of PCBs in the environment are decreasing with time. The range of receiving environments specified in the plan to be examined include:
- breast milk and foodstuffs;
- sewage treatment plants and outfalls;
- landfill sites suspected of having received scheduled PCB waste (including adjacent groundwater or leachate) which have been assessed by the agency as posing a potential risk to the environment; and
- appropriate biological indicators, including wildlife.
A significant amount of information is already available through government and non-government programs. Given this, the emphasis of this environmental monitoring report has been on collating data from existing programs of sampling and analysis. It collates existing published data, or unpublished data that have been obtained directly from regulatory authorities. The report attempts to identify any significant gaps in current monitoring data collection and makes recommendations for future monitoring reports.
This monitoring report was prepared by the former National Advisory Body (NAB) on Scheduled Waste (made up of representatives of industry, environment groups, local government, farmers and trade unions).