Coramba Fuel leak continues

MORE than eight years after Coramba resident Peter Attwill reported petrol leaking from an earth bank on his riverside property, the village’s pollution problem has not been solved.

In the years since, benzene and toluene, believed to have originated from a leaking petrol storage tank at the Coramba Service Station, has continued to leak from the ground and into the river below Martin Street.

On March 5 this year the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water issued a Declaration of Significantly Contaminated Land over two parcels of land at the end of Martin Street on the bank of the Orara River. The declaration covers a larger area than a previously issued.

A spokesman for DECCW said the area covered by the new declaration was land managed by Coffs Harbour City Council where they were proposing remediation work would occur, using funding from the Environmental Trust. He said the declaration would allow council to prepare a voluntary management agreement to allow remediation work to continue.

Coffs Harbour City Council has plans for a full-scale air sparging system to be constructed on the river bank to intercept the petrol before it reaches the river, following an earlier trial of air sparging on the site.

This has not yet been built, but Coffs Harbour City Council manager of strategy and sustainability Jeff Green said they had received Part 3A approval from the State Government for the full project last year.

Martin Street resident Brian Adam, a member of the Coramba Interagency Working Party, said yesterday he had told council the petrol smell in the river below Martin Street disappeared during flooding, but reappeared abruptly after flooding receded.

He said he had smelt a strong glue-like smell and felt light-headed earlier this summer while dragging wood out of the river.

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