EPA recovers 78 toxic drums
By REN LANZONrlanzon@gladstoneobserver.com.au
THE EPA recovered 78 drums, some known to contain toxic material, from an underground pit at a Builyan sawmill, the mill's general manager said yesterday.
A local resident informed The Observer they had witnessed a large number of 44 gallon drums being uncovered by earthmoving equipment at the Builyan site, in the Boyne Valley, last week.
Local residents first approached The Observer earlier this month concerned that the dumping of toxic materials, some believed to be arsenic, could leach into the region's water supply.
The township has about 30 houses, a tiny school and the Parkside Group sawmill, which is Builyan's main employer.
The Observer yesterday visited the site after being told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had dug up the drums, but was not allowed access by mill manager Les Marsh, who said the EPA had told them to keep the gate locked.
However, the excavations site was still visible from the road.
Mr Marsh confirmed 78 drums of material had been recovered by the EPA.
'We know some contained toxic material, but we do not know the volume,' he said.
He said some of the material was of no environmental risk and had been buried under EPA supervision and the pit had been lined with clay to prevent leaching.
He was not certain about some of the contents of other drums.
'We won't know what's in the drums until the EPA lets us know,' he said.