EPA will not reveal intentions on arsenic dump

By REN LANZONrlanzon@gladstoneobserver.com.au

THE EPA will not reveal if it intends to dig up a series of drums alleged to have been filled with arsenic and dumped in the water catchment area that supplies Gladstone's drinking water.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) recently confirmed it was investigating allegations that a quantity of arsenic, copper and chromium was illegally dumped in the Awoonga Dam catchment area.

Since The Observer's report last Wednesday, more information surrounding the alleged dumping has been received from former and existing Boyne Valley residents. Based on the information received, The Observer posed three questions to the EPA about the alleged burial of the poisons. However the EPA yesterday said it would answer no further questions from The Observer while investigations were proceeding.

Residents have approached The Observer because they fear any leaching of material from the alleged dumping could kill fish life in the Boyne River.

But a greater concern for them was that if enough material entered the Awoonga Dam there could be widespread illness among water consumers in Gladstone and Calliope.

Former employee at the property, Darren Wilson, claims to have seen between 20 and 24 drums dumped in or near the alleged burial site but did not witness the actual burial.

When asked by The Observer on the issue, former manager Dennis Martin said he recalled 20 drums were ready to go to Brisbane for proper disposal but he believed the material never left the area.

Another former employee, who asked not to be named, said he saw the material being buried.

He said the material was buried about 25 feet (7.5m) underground.

'I could take you there and dig it out if you want me to,'' he said.

The witness claimed there were at least two dumpings of the poisons on the site.

The Gladstone Area Water Board last week said there was no immediate risk of environmental harm.

Anyone who has information about the alleged illegal dumping is asked to inform the EPA.

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