Environmental Investigation

Project timeline

Date Action
June 16 EPA advises Council of potential historical Waratah Gasworks.
Aug 16 Historical sources review confirms a gasworks operated in the area from late 1800s to early 1900s.
Council collaborates with EPA and NSW Health. Precautionary advice for residents issued.
Council engages independent environmental consultant, AECOM, to investigate.
Council engages EPA accredited site auditor.
Sep 16 Council door knocks properties in investigation area and hold community information sessions.
Preliminary investigation commences. 236 soil samples are collected and analysed.
Nov 16 Initial investigation report completed. Identifies need for further sampling and analysis.
Council and AECOM meet with residents to explain results, and need for detailed site investigation.
Dec 16 Detailed site investigation commences. More than 300 samples collected and analysed.
Apr 17 Detailed Site Investigation fieldwork complete.
Oct 17 Detailed Site Investigation Report draft completed and findings accepted by Site Auditor. Report recommends remediation of 13 properties within eastern portion of the former Waratah Gasworks.
Council and AECOM meet with residents individually to explain results.
Nov 17 Remediation Options Assessment commences.
Council hold community information sessions to present broad remediation options.
Council and AECOM meet with residents to discuss individual circumstances and remediation preferences.
Feb 18 Council and AECOM meet with residents to confirm remediation preferences.
Council provides progress update for Remediation Options Assessment, and provides final Detailed Report to residents
Early to mid-2018 Remediation Options Assessment to be reviewed and finalised to provide basis for further decision making by Council and property owners.

 

Latest news

Environmental investigation findings

Newcastle City Council has completed an environmental investigation at the site of an historical gasworks in Waratah. Council initiated the investigation in mid-2016, after advice from the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) that a former gasworks may have operated on land bounded by Ellis, Turton and Georgetown roads.

The investigation found elevated levels of contaminants in shallow soils likely to be associated with historical gasworks at 13 properties within the eastern portion of the site, consistent with the area where former gasworks infrastructure is understood to have been located.

Results from samples collected from the western portion of the former gasworks site and the surrounding public areas found some elevated concentrations of urban contaminants; however, gasworks related contaminants were typically absent in these samples.

These urban contaminants with elevated concentrations are considered typical of background levels within the local Waratah area and reflect the long-term impacts of a range of industrial activities in the neighbourhood, including brickworks, collieries, foundries, smelters, steelworks and incinerators, as well as vehicular traffic.

Council is working closely with the 13 properties identified as affected by elevated gasworks contaminants to determine remediation options for each property.

Council is also advising all Newcastle residents to apply good practice and follow some basic precautions to avoid exposure to elevated urban contamination.

View fact sheets below

 Fact sheet - Environmental Investigation (pdf)
 Fact sheet - Site History (pdf)

Please refer to  Frequently Asked Questions for further details about the environmental investigation. 
 

Site map

 Waratah Gasworks environmental investigate - site map (pdf)

Precautionary recommendations

Council is working closely with  NSW HNELHD and the  NSW EPA to address potential health and environmental concerns.

The following precautionary advice has been recommended for occupiers of residential premises, within the eastern portion of the site, to minimise potential short-term exposure risks to gasworks related substances, until this matter had been further investigated and longer-term advice provided:
 
  • Not eating any vegetables or fruit grown at the property or eggs laid by hens on the property
  • Avoid having areas of bare soil by maintaining grass cover or otherwise covering bare areas
  • Minimise exposure to soil during gardening activities by minimising dust generation, wearing gloves and washing hands after handling soil
  • If children are playing in sand pits or soil, it is advised that this occur in a raised bed or structure above the natural ground level. The raised bed or structure should contain sand or soil that has not been sourced from onsite so as to avoid any potential contamination.
Contact

For enquiries about the Environmental Investigation, please contact Regulatory Services on 02 4974 2000, Monday to Friday, between 8.30am and 5pm.

For more information about related matters, please see contact details below:

  • Specific health advice: Your doctor
  • General health information: Hunter New England Local Health District: 1300 066 055

Other contamination information: NSW EPA Environment Line:
13 15 55