The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is playing an important role in making sure the demolition and removal of the 65-year-old old Batemans Bay Bridge meets high environmental standards to protect both the environment and human health.
The EPA said it had reviewed the demolition methodology and control measures put in place by the construction project team to ensure any lead or other metals based paint does not impact the Clyde River, which is home to oyster farms and important aquatic habitat for animals and birdlife. Air monitoring is also being used during some of the bridge processing activities as an additional precaution to ensure that the control measures are effective.
EPA Regional South Unit Head Matthew Rizzuto said it was understandable that the community was concerned about the impacts of lead paint from the bridge entering the environment.
“The EPA can confirm the project team will put in place measures that meet the high standards required by the EPA,” Mr Rizzuto said.
“Our regulation of the project is focused on making sure both the Batemans Marine Park and the nearby community are not impacted.
“The project will use methods that avoid generating dust or residue and make sure any residue from the bridge’s demolition and removal is properly contained and disposed of.”
Transport for NSW estimates that the removal of the old bridge is expected to be finished by the end of 2021.
As the state’s environmental regulator, the EPA plays an important role in the management of major infrastructure projects.
Mr Rizzuto said the impact of old lead-based paints and products should be considered in major projects such as the bridge removal and while undertaking smaller renovations and building work in the home.
“The bridge removal project is a timely reminder that lead is a toxic substance that can affect people of any age and is a hazard to the environment if not correctly managed,” he said.
“Lead can be especially harmful to children, pregnant women and unborn babies.”
The EPA urges home renovators and gardeners to Stay Safe from Lingering Lead by testing paint surfaces for lead using a lead test kit before starting any work and seeking professional advice.
Top tips include wearing protective clothing when working around lead in old paint and soil, using an approved mask and making sure pregnant women and children are not exposed to lead during renovations.