Environment department investigates potential chemical spill at super dump site
“We have been made aware of it today and we have just sent a team out to investigate it onsite,” a Department of Environment and Science spokesman said on Friday.
He said the department did not monitor the site because there was no environmental authority agreement between the government and company for activity at the site.
It is at this stage unclear if the company was legally required to report the leak as the department was still unaware of what the substance was.
“But any pollution should be reported to our environmental hotline on our 1300 130 372 hotline number,” the department spokesman said.
According to neighbouring property owner Tony Halpin, the leak occurred at the site of explosives storage company Sun Mining, which leases land on Austin Street in New Chum from the large garbage contractor, BMI Group, owned by entrepreneur Balfour Irvine.
Liquid can be seen leaking towards the water-filled mine site, which runs into Six Mile Creek.
Jim Dodrill, who leads the community group IRATE (Ipswich Residents Against Toxic Environments) also confirmed the site was leased by Sun Mining and said he was very worried the leak had not been reported.
“That site is leased by Sun Mining and they provide explosives to the mining industry,” Mr Dodrill said.
BMI bought the site, which is now an abandoned coal mine, in 2013.
The plan is for the dump to take 650,000 tonnes of mostly construction and demolition waste each year.
That would increase to more than a million tonnes a year over the 18- to 20-year life of the site.
The proposed dump would fill the former coal mine on Austin Street at New Chum, which includes the site of the leak leased by Sun Mining.
However, when Sun Mining was contacted by Fairfax Media at its Dinmore office listed on its website, it said it had no knowledge of the New Chum site.
One of the tanks in the photographs from the New Chum leak and sent to Fairfax Media bears the brand Wala, which is shown on the Sun Mining website.
The substance is a water resistant, light-density explosive which forms as a hardened block, developed by Sun Mining for use in mine blasting.
It reduces the amount of powder used and increases the blast potential.
Tony Moore is a senior reporter at the Brisbane Times
Morning & Afternoon Newsletter