EPA QUALITY ASSURANCE

As part of its internal quality assurance process, the EPA routinely conducts peer reviews of itswork to measure not only the accuracy of its monitoring and testing regime, but also to ascertain whether the methods being used are sound and appropriate to the situation at hand.

In response to the Hazelwood mine fire, the EPA sought peer reviews on the following topics:

Review of Process for Public Health Protection (Carbon Monoxide Response Protocol), by:

  • Professor Ross Anderson, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health, St Georges, University of London and Kings College London
  • Dr Fay Johnston, Senior Research Fellow, Environmental Epidemiology, Menzies Research Institute Tasmania, University of Tasmania.

Review of Air Quality Assessment and Monitoring Programs, by:

  • Associate Professor Howard Bridgman, Conjunct Professor, School of Environmental and life Sciences, University of Newcastle.

Review of Soil and Ash Monitoring and Assessment, by:

  • Dr Robert Edis, Certified Professional Soil Scientist, Honorary Associate Professor, University of Melbourne.

Review of Water Monitoring and Assessment, by:

  • Dr Vincent Pettigrove, Chief Executive Officer, Principal Research Fellow, Centre for Aquatic Pollution Identification and Management.111

Associate Professor Bridgman was asked to review the EPA’s approach to monitoring and esting of PM2.5 by using Environment Tasmania’s TravelBLANkET, and to assess the accessibility of the information provided by the EPA on its website. His advice was that the EPA was ‘monitoring the right things in the right places to provide appropriate and timely information and updates.’112

Associate Professor Bridgman’s views on the information provided on the EPA’s website, and the website’s accessibility, are discussed in Part 5 Communications.

Dr Edis’s advice was that the EPA’s soil and ash monitoring program was suitable pending some expansion of testing, including sampling of edible above ground plant parts, with and without rinsing, and sampling of surface soil in plume paths where there is high potential for human exposure.113

Dr Pettigrove’s advice was that the water monitoring program included a good selection of sites and the EPA was undertaking a suitable program to assess the impact of fire on the local water quality.114

Discussion on the peer reviews sought on the Carbon Monoxide Response Protocol is detailed in Chapter 4.6 Health response.