Site Contamination Clovelly Park and Mitchell Park

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:37 :11 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Environment a question about the spread of the contamination.

Leave granted.

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: In a document that is on the EPA website dated July 2014—given we are only on the 3rd, it is in the last 24 hours; in fact, I expect it was posted this morning—it says on page 2, under ‘Further testing required’:

Currently, the extent of the groundwater and soil vapour contamination has not yet been determined.

I will repeat that: the extent of the groundwater and soil vapour contamination has not yet been determined. It goes on:

Additional testing for TCE in groundwater is required in areas further south into Clovelly Park, and west into…Mitchell Park. Further testing of the soil vapour will also be undertaken to determine the extent of the soil vapour contamination.

The EPA, with the support of Health SA, is in the process of selecting a suitably qualified and experienced site contamination consultant to undertake the further investigation work.

My questions to the minister are:

1.Can the minister explain why this information has only just been posted, probably this morning, which indicates contamination testing is required in areas adjacent to Clovelly Park and west into Mitchell Park?

2.Can he also inform us how many properties are potentially affected in this area?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 14:38 :34 ): The honourable member seeks some assurity which I cannot give him. These are underwater groundwater sources. It is very difficult to determine their boundaries and very difficult to determine where the extent of chemical infiltration may be. We do that by testing bores in some cases, and in other cases we do it by testing air quality or soil samples.

The EPA is extending its inquiries a little bit to the south, as I mentioned. We are talking to another 14 or 15 homes and residents about further testing. The testing that has been done in their front yards, I understand, to this point, has shown a marked drop-off in TCE from areas closer to the point where we believe the contamination may have originated. But it is proper that the EPA should extend out its search to find and define what the boundaries will be.

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:39 :26 ): Supplementary: given the government has known about the contamination in this area for about six years, why is it now only appointing a contamination consultant to undertake further investigation in Clovelly Park and Mitchell Park?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 14:39 :42 ): It is quite correct to say that we have been working on this issue since about 2008, and it is only in recent times that we have information that has come to hand to tell us that the air infiltration of vapour has just ticked over the two micrograms level in these houses in Clovelly Park. In any case, it is normal practice for the EPA, once it is advised of these infiltrations of vapour, to extend its search to try and define the boundaries. That is just normal practice. That is what they will do.

The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:40 :21 ): Further supplementary: when did the minister or the government first advise that there was potential risk in Clovelly Park and Mitchell Park?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 14:40 :30 ): I do not have the particular date at hand, but I am advised it was sometime in 2008.

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