Specialist equipment to extract, clean and recover groundwater
Monitoring bores are operating at Duri and specialised equipment has been installed this week to extract, clean and recover groundwater contaminated with unleaded fuel.
Tamworth Regional Council's acting director of planning and compliance, Ross Briggs, said a monitoring well in Railway Avenue near the rail line is being used as an extraction well to remove the dirty water which will be treated.
He added that the clean water will be pumped into an adjacent recovery well.
Mr Briggs said the treatment unit will remain in place for at least four weeks. It could be there for months or more than a year.
The next step is for all contaminated soil at the source of the contamination – a ruptured unleaded fuel tank – to be removed and backfilled to then allow the footpath and an awning to be reinstated.
Mr Briggs said it is expected specialist environmental consultants should have their report prepared for the NSW Environment Protection Authority early in March.
The report will enable to EPA to determine if the site is deemed “significantly contaminated” under the Contaminated Land Management Act. If so, the EPA will then take over the regulation of the site and the clean up.
The NSW EPA notified Tamworth Regional Council of fuel contamination of groundwater bores at Duri village in December 2019.
Since then Council has been working with residents to keep them informed of the situation and taken the lead on extensive and repeated testing.
Council continues to ask all owners of bores in the affected area to stop using the water for any purpose.
Residents have instead been using water in their household rainwater tanks to provide water for drinking as well as their hygiene needs.
Council is continuing to work closely with the NSW Environmental Protection Authority and NSW Health to manage the issue. Further updates will be provided when more information is available.