06/04/2021 - 16:13

Regulator orders contamination fix

06/04/2021 - 16:13

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The state’s environmental regulator has ordered mining giant BHP to file a site management by the end of the month following the detection of chemicals in the soil and groundwater of its Newman iron ore mine.

Regulator orders contamination fix
The department has recommended that all areas of significant contamination be actively remediated or capped with an impervious barrier in order to protect the regional groundwater aquifer. Image: BHP.

The state’s environmental regulator has ordered mining giant BHP to file a site management by the end of the month following the detection of chemicals in the soil and groundwater of its Newman iron ore mine.

A spokesperson from the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) told Business News that BHP was investigating the presence of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the soil and groundwater at its Mount Whaleback Iron Ore Mine, a chemical used in fire-fighting foams.

The spokesperson said the company would be providing the department with its findings and that it had requested an interim site management plan by the end of the month and a remediation action plan for the site by July 2021.

According to the department’s contaminated sites database, soils and groundwater in the mine operations area are impacted by petroleum hydrocarbons, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and asbestos.

As a result, the department has recommended that all areas of significant contamination be remediated or capped with an impervious barrier in order to protect the groundwater aquifer.

The site has been classified as contaminated under the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 for more than two decades, with reports of PFAS being detected in the groundwater at the site of the former diesel fired power station in 2007 and again in 2019.

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