Arsenic Contamination

15 May 2013 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make an explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation regarding arsenic contamination at the Goodwood worksite for the Seaford and Belair rail corridor.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: For months, local residents in Goodwood have been concerned about the harmful nature of dust landing on their homes, vehicles and window seals as a result of the removal and transportation of soil at the Goodwood railway worksite. Despite these concerns, knowledge of any contamination of soil has been denied.

On 30 January, the Eastern Courier Messenger reported that SA Health authorities have declared that the level of arsenic in the soil at the Goodwood railway worksite posed no threat to residents. However, a document entitled 'Goodwood grade separation—soil contamination assessment', of 27 July 2012, which was obtained through freedom of information, revealed that very high levels of arsenic were detected in samples taken from bore logs—levels of 910 milligrams per kilogram. It has been reported that this soil was transported through the local area in uncovered trucks. My questions for the minister are:

1.Is the minister aware of this issue?

2.When were the EPA and/or Health advised of carcinogens found in the rail corridor?

3.What preventative actions were taken to ensure the soil was removed and disposed of safely?

4.Did the minister or any of his agencies advise residents of possible risks during the process?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) (14:29): I thank the honourable member for her most important and intriguing question. It does go to a multiagency approach, I would imagine, including my own agency and perhaps the EPA, Health and the Department of Transport, so I will undertake to take the question on notice and bring back a response.