Broadwater clean-up program

Update on Broadwater flood clean-up program.

During the unprecedented floods in March 2022, diesel fuel and oil sludge flooded into homes and yards in Broadwater, northern NSW. We helped the community and worked closely with residents to test and clean-up their properties.

The clean-up program initially focused on specialist cleaning of houses, sheds and fences of affected properties. Once completed, the soil at 26 residential properties were tested for hydrocarbon contamination. Based on the soil testing results, soil remediation works were then carried out at 14 residential properties and included either the application of a bioremediation enhancer product or soil replacement and returfing.

Follow-up soil testing was then conducted to confirm if hydrocarbon contamination levels had reduced to within guideline limits. This same testing was carried out on public lands. The follow up testing showed that hydrocarbon contamination levels remaining in the soil at Broadwater are below the adopted human health assessment criteria for residential land use as defined in the National Environmental Protection (Assessment of Site Contamination) Measure 1999 (as amended 2013). These low levels are expected to continue to reduce over time and pose no immediate or ongoing health risk.

We also conducted a comprehensive investigation into the cause and circumstances that led to hydrocarbon contamination of the local environment. The extensive investigation included conducting interviews with numerous residents, issuing statutory notices to gather information and records, and attending on-site inspections with experts. After a careful review of the evidence and having carefully considered the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the flooding and the non-deliberate nature of the contamination, there was insufficient evidence to warrant regulatory action.

To minimise the likelihood of future incidents, we required local licence holders to anchor bulk fuel storage tanks to the ground to prevent them from overturning during any future flood events.

We’d like to thank the community for their support and patience during both the investigation and clean-up.