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Gasworks and Soil Contamination - A Case Study

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A story by. Mark Robinson, in the Sydney Morning Herald (15/10/01, page 5), highlights the hazards of contaminated soil.

Men in protective clothing came in one morning to an Erskineville residentís backyard which borders a SRA gasworks site. Vegetables were grown in the yard, and chooks were kept. The men dug up vegetables, and took them away.

Analysis revealed high levels of chemical contamination on the site, making the vegetables and eggs unsuitable for consumption

The old SRA gasworks site contained by-products of gas production, including lead and other heavy metals and chemicals such as benzene and hydrocarbons.

The spread of the contamination to the residential land meant that the residents were exposed to health risks associated with inhaling or ingesting lead, benzene and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons)".

Extensive testing was carried out to determine whether chemicals had "migrated" into the yard of other residents of the street whose properties backed onto the gasworks site, and if some homes would have to be reclaimed and knocked down. The future land use had to be reconsidered.

The LEAD Group Inc

Source: www.smh.com.au/news/0110/15/national/national11.html

This project was assisted by the NSW Government through its Environmental TrustEnvironmental Trust

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