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Unleaded fuel confirmed as contamination in Duri bores

Ross Briggs spoke to media on the site of the drill. Picture: Geoff Dunn

Testing of groundwater bores at Duri has confirmed the contamination was unleaded fuel.

In the month since the NSW Environmental Protection Authority notified Tamworth Regional Council of fuel contamination, testing has been undertaken and two underground fuel tanks on a Duri property were emptied soon after.

One contained unleaded fuel and one had diesel fuel. Water from a number of bores in the affected area has test results showing the presence of unleaded fuel.

Council's manager of compliance, Ross Briggs, said staff members have visited the owners of bores in the affected area to advise them about the contamination.

“It has been explained to them that due to time it takes between when a sample is taken and the analysis taking place, it is possible for contamination to move to areas previously unaffected,” he said.

“Water samples are sent to Sydney for analysis and have a two day turn around, even when they are requested as being urgent. “


Mr Briggs said Council again asks all owners of bores in the affected area to stop pumping water from them with the aim of preventing the spread of the contamination.

“It is understood that some bores are directly attached to households for toilet flushing,” he said.

“At this time this use is allowable because stopping this use will require re-plumbing and significant alteration to the pipework.

“The main message that we would like understood by bore owners is that if you are pumping large amounts of water it is possible it may draw contamination towards your bore and move the groundwater contamination towards your property.”

Current test results are revealing a continued reduction in the level of contamination, which indicates the source of the fuel is no longer present.

Council has provided water to several property owners who relied on their bore to water stock.

At this stage, residents have advised council they have adequate water in their household rainwater tanks to provide water for drinking as well as their hygiene needs.

Mr Briggs said work is currently underway at the property where the source of the contamination is located.

This includes having a drilling rig on site drilling boreholes for water samples to determine the depth of the contamination.

A specialist environmental consultant will assess the results and determine the best way to move forward with remediating the groundwater. Council will provide a further update to the community once it has advice from the consultant.

With the start of the school year this week, council assured the community that the Duri Public School water supply (bore water tank) has been tested and the tank has been isolated from the groundwater supply.

There was no contamination found in the bore tank at the school, but as a precaution, the tank has been disconnected from the groundwater supply.

“Council appreciates the cooperation and understanding of Duri residents as we work with them and other agencies on solutions to the contamination,” Mr Briggs said.

“The health and wellbeing of residents will continue to be our top priority and we are working closely with the EPA and NSW Health to manage the contamination.

“We will pass new information directly to residents as soon as we have any updates. We have also encouraged anyone with any concerns them to call us on 6767 5555.”

Council is continuing to work closely with the NSW Environmental Protection Authority and NSW Health to manage the issue.

Further updates will be provided when more information is available.

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