Boral Asphalt has accepted responsibility for the clean up of houses near its South Lismore site after an "undetermined" volume of contaminants were found by the EPA to have escaped into floodwaters in February.
In the report dated June 27, the NSW Environment Protection Authority found bitumen, asphalt and hydrocarbon (diesel and oil) had impacted a number of homes, both inside and out, as well as contaminating gardens and soil in resident's yards and public places.
Other sources of hydrocarbon contamination were also identified in association with the operation of North Coast Petroleum, and "other upstream sources also may also have contributed".
The EPA said the Boral premises was not licenced under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, and Lismore City Council was the Appropriate Regulatory Authority in this case, however it would provide "specialist regulatory and technical advice to council in relation to the clean-up efforts".
The EPA said Boral Asphalt accepted responsibility for cleaning up adjacent commercial and residential premises and had engaged specialist contractors to undertake cleaning works at affected commercial premises to remove bitumen and asphalt material. The council was monitoring the works.
Boral is currently negotiating clean up programs for a number of residential properties.- NSW EPA
"Boral is currently negotiating clean up programs for a number of residential properties and has entered confidential compensation agreements with some property owners, where clean up works have already been completed by the residents. The terms of these agreements are confidential and unknown to council or the EPA. Council and the EPA are working closely with Boral to ensure that the clean up of these residential properties occurs quickly," the report says.
"Boral has also undertaken soil sampling at affected properties. Boral's sampling results suggest that the soils contain historical contaminants that are not related to the flood. Council and the EPA have requested further scientific information from Boral in relation to its position," the EPA said.
An asphalt plant has operated at the site since the 1960s, but ceased regular operations at the end of July 2020. It is not open for production or sales.
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