Concerning levels of copper, lead, arsenic found in soil on Inner West light rail route

Concerning levels of copper, lead, arsenic found in soil on Inner West light rail route

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Inner West light rail

Preliminary results of soil samples taken as part of the preparation for the Inner West Light Rail extension showed concerning levels of copper, lead, arsenic and hydrocarbons. Picture: Soulas Angelo Source: The Daily Telegraph

SOIL samples taken on the Inner West Light Rail route have revealed concerning levels of copper, lead and arsenic, the state government said today.

Preliminary results of soil samples taken as part of the preparation for the Inner West Light Rail extension showed concerning levels of copper, lead, arsenic and hydrocarbons, Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said.

The problem comes from the use of fill to build embankments along the rail line, she said.

“Thirteen of the 30 samples taken from seven sites adjacent to the defunct freight line on which the Inner West Light Rail extension will be built revealed some or all of the contaminants,” Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said.

Other samples taken on land earmarked for light rail construction – including sites where stations will be built – had also revealed minor contamination, she said.

The government has immediately suspended all volunteer garden-care work on RailCorp-owned land throughout NSW, known as Bushcare.

Bushcare groups now work on five of the seven sites; the other two sites were tested as they might be handed over to Bushcare groups in the future.

Asbestos was also found at one location currently worked by a Bushcare group.

“The land where stations will be built will be properly remediated as part of the construction, but I am acting today to minimise any potential risk to members of the community who have selflessly given their time to make their local environment more beautiful,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Furthermore, I have instructed Transport for NSW to ensure there is no more Bushcare activity at any RailCorp site across the State until further advice, and consultation with other Government agencies.”

“I want to ensure no-one is exposed to any unnecessary risk either in the inner west, or elsewhere.”

Advice provided to Transport for NSW recommended against touching or digging the suspect soil until site management plans were developed, she said.

Two Bushcare working bees planned for the inner west this week had been cancelled on the advice of Transport for NSW.

Transport for NSW had also reported the initial findings to the Office of Environment and Heritage, and the Chief Medical Officer.

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