Sick dump site
THE sensitive issue of the still-to-be remediated site of the old antimony processing plant at Urunga has bubbled to the surface once again.
Photos sent to The Advocate by a local photographer, who asked to remain anonymous, reveal both a toxic-looking jumble of new waste and the extent of dead vegetation that has existed behind the fences for years.
The site, which is east of the Pacific Highway, off Hillside Dr, was an antimony crushing plant owned by Broken Hill Antimony Pty Ltd until 1975. In 1984 it was sold into private ownership.
One woman, who asked not to be named, said it was a popular playground for kids at the time.
“We used to hang off railings into silos and make cubbies with materials on the site,” she said.
A number of attempts to remediate the site since have stalled over issues of ownership, responsibility and cost. A clean-up was done by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in 2001, leading to the conclusion the latest rubbish dump was recent.
Bellingen Council’s general manager, Liz Jeremy, said the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage had been contacted.
“Both short-term and long-term clean-up options are being discussed – we want to find a solution to this unresolved issue,” Mrs Jeremy said.
“A monitoring program to check for leached heavy metals is also part of the discussion.”
Yesterday EPA director of specialised regulation, Craig Lamberton, confirmed his department’s desire to see the site cleaned up.
“We need to move away from the unproductive debate about who is responsible and find a way forward,” Mr Lamberton said.