There was a front page report in the Sydney Morning Herald a whileback that showed the perils of poorly managed land decontamination. Highlighting how important an effective remediation is for a contaminated site, it reports on a fishing ban in Sydney Harbour, due to unhealthily high levels of dioxins. Australian Enviro Services specialise in asbestos removal in Sydney and environmental site remediation.
The NSW State Government ordered an expensive clean-up of the former Union Carbide site at Homebush Bay, however residues of pesticide manufacture have leeched into the harbour for kilometres in either direction.
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The contamination has now spread to an are that is too large for effective remediation and authorities say the only solution is to wait until sediment covers the contaminated layer, so the poison cannot be absorbed by fish.
In recent years, Sydney Harbour water quality has improved measurably. However the high dioxin levels in fish feeding areas means that there are fish in the Harbour that have been poisoned and are, in turn, poisonous to eat. The current health warning is not to eat fish caught west of the Harbour Bridge, and to eat only 150 grams a month of fish caught east of the bridge. This restriction is likely to remain in force for decades, until the impact of the Union carbide contamination recedes.
The NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water conducted tests that showed that sections of sediment in the harbour are so contaminated that they rank among the most contaminated in the world.
The results indicated that directly outside the remediation area in Homebush Bay dioxin levels were 300 times those found in a natural, uncontaminated environment.
Dioxins are categorised as carcinogens. They have been linked with birth defects and skin conditions.
In the 1990s the NSW government bought the contaminated Union Carbide site and pledged $20 million for bio-remediation of the site. Work did not start until 2004. Fish with high dioxin levels were noticed in 2005.
Making the situation even more tragic is the fact that prompt action may have been able to better contain and remediate the contamination.
Australian Enviro Services are a Sydney asbestos removal company. They also offer professional waste management, asbestos contaminated soil remediation and underground storage tank removal. If you need remediation of a contaminated site, contact Australian Enviro Services.