Groundwater contamination at Duri 24 April

The specialised treatment unit installed in Railway Avenue, Duri, in March is working well to extract, clean and recover ground water contaminated with unleaded fuel.

The NSW EPA notified Tamworth Regional Council of fuel contamination of groundwater bores at Duri village on 29 December 2019. Since then Council has been working closely with residents to keep them informed of the situation and has taken the lead on extensive repeated testing as well as the clean up response.

The treatment unit is drawing water from two recovery wells – one immediately in front of the Duri store and one on the opposite side of the street. Bulk water and fuel is also being extracted from the domestic bore at 15 Railway Avenue. This water is being treated in the unit to separate the fuel from the water.

Up until the end of last week, a total of 43,000 litres of water had been taken from the wells and treated. Testing of the treated water has confirmed it is safe for stock and garden watering.

Tamworth Regional Council Acting Director Planning and Compliance. Ross Briggs, said specialist consultants have submitted a detailed Site Investigation and Remedial Action Plan report to Council and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

“This report will be used by the EPA to determine if the contamination is “significant” and is then to be regulated by the EPA under the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997,” he said. “If it is not considered to be “significant”, Council will continue to oversee the issue but will consult with the EPA regarding the long term management of the site.”

All contaminated soil at the source of the contamination – a ruptured unleaded fuel tank – has been removed to a depth of about 4 meters below ground level to bedrock. The soil has been removed and taken to Tamworth’s Forest Road Landfill for temporary storage on a securely bunded and lined pad. It will undergo waste classification testing to determine how to dispose of it safely.

Council reminds all bore owners in the affected area to stop using the water for any purpose. Residents are using water in their household rainwater tanks to provide water for drinking as well as their hygiene needs.

Mr Briggs said in general Duri residents are doing the right thing, but unfortunately some residents were continuing to use private bores. “Using bores could draw the contaminated water to them, contaminating them and killing the gardens being watered,” he said.

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