Council may buy contaminated land

Coramba has been under a cloud since contaminated groundwater was found in the town in 2002.
Coramba has been under a cloud since contaminated groundwater was found in the town in 2002. Brendan Ray/ Lee McDougall

COFFS Harbour City Council will look at the next step forward for dealing with benzene contamination in Coramba at its meeting on Thursday.

Councillors will be asked to approve a staff proposal to proceed with negotiations to buy part of the Attwill family’s land at No 5 Martin St in Coramba.

If the Attwills agree to sell the land, it will allow the council to proceed with both sections of the air sparge system. The proposal by WSP Environmental is for an air sparge and soil vapour extraction system to clean petrol-contaminated groundwater before it flows into the river. It requires an upper sparge system within No 5 Martin St and a lower sparge system on council land between No 5 and the river.

The contamination was first detected in 2002 by Peter Attwill, who discovered a petrol-smelling liquid seeping from a bank at his home and reported it to Coffs Harbour City Council.

A leaking fuel tank was subsequently discovered at the Coramba Service Station.

The council has awarded a contract for the sparge system to WSP Environmental.

The NSW Environmental Trust will fund the work, which is being co-ordinated by the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water.

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