On behalf of the NSW Government, the NSW EPA carried out precautionary testing of surface soils in public and community spaces at Captains Flat in February 2021, to check for lead beyond the former Lake George Mine.
This followed testing on parts of the rail corridor at Captains Flat, where elevated levels of lead were found.
A total of 80 screening tests were carried out in public and community spaces by the EPA around the town and the EPA has received laboratory analysis results for those samples where elevated levels of lead were detected. The results show that some samples had elevated concentrations of lead, while other contaminants (ie. arsenic, copper and zinc) were below the health investigation level for the relevant land-use.
- tests carried out by the EPA in the northern part of the village generally returned low readings, except for Foxlow Parklet on the corner of Foxlow and Spring streets and a small disused garden at the school. This garden is not in use and is not accessible to students.
- in the southern part of the village, closer to the former mine, readings were elevated above the health investigation levels for lead at some locations, including on the roadside on Foxlow Street, between the Captains Flat Hotel and the Captains Flat Fire Station, and at the preschool.
Where there is exceedance of investigation levels, this does not necessarily indicate that there is a risk to human health. To understand more about this, read the EPA summary report.
The NSW Government will work with the community to ensure they know what actions they can take to live safely with lead.
Some general safety tips include:
- washing your hands frequently and particularly after working outdoors
- covering patches of bare soil with grass or mulch to prevent dust
- using raised garden beds with clean imported soil if growing home produce
- washing fresh produce before cooking or eating
In addition to the questions and answers below, drop-in community information sessions were held at the Captains Flat Community Hall in February with representatives from the NSW EPA, NSW Health, Transport for NSW, Department of Regional NSW, Crown Lands, Local Land Services and Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council. The community information sessions provided a forum for the community to tell us about past practices such as use of waste mine rock to fill land and the extent of mining activities beyond the mine site, and allowed us to respond to questions.
The EPA also offered private property owners and residents surface soil testing and several people have taken up this opportunity. Residents whose properties have been tested will hear directly from the EPA with their results.
- Read the full report from testing in community and public spaces (PDF 6.5MB).
- See more information on the history of the Lake George Mine and works that have been done by the Legacy Mines Program to reduce and manage risks at the site.
The Legacy Mines Program is a NSW Government initiative that assists landholders by delivering and managing works to reduce risks arising from historic and abandoned mines. It focuses on public safety and improving the environment. The Legacy Mines Program is administered by Mining, Exploration and Geoscience and is part of the Department of Regional NSW.Questions and answers