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January 2018 update
Excavation of contaminated material for the North Wangaratta recreation Reserve
Excavation of lead-contaminated soil at the North Wangaratta football oval has commenced. The soil contamination was from historical shooting activities at the Wangaratta Clay Target Club (WCTC), adjacent to the football oval.
Following excavation of the contaminated material, soil testing will be conducted to confirm that lead contamination has been reduced to a level that poses minimal risk to human health and the environment. The oval will then be reconstructed to allow the public access without risk to human health.
The contaminated soil will be temporarily stored on the WCTC premises. This soil will be included in the cleanup plan required for the premises.
The excavation and temporary stockpiling of the contaminated material are being managed by consultants engaged by the Rural City of Wangaratta, as required by a notice issued by EPA. The notice requires that the excavation and stockpiling be carried out as to minimise the risk to human health and the environment.
6 June 2017 update – results from groundwater monitoring
EPA is reviewing results from groundwater monitoring undertaken in May 2017 at the North Wangaratta recreation Reserve, as required under an EPA notice. Initial results from groundwater monitoring indicate:
- Levels of lead in groundwater did not exceed the health guidelines for drinking water.
- Levels of nickel in groundwater were found to exceed health guidelines for drinking water use. The source of the nickel is still being investigated.
Because groundwater undergoes seasonal and other variations, further groundwater monitoring will be required to confirm groundwater quality. EPA advises that groundwater in the area may be contaminated and shouldn’t be used for drinking until these investigations are completed. For uses of groundwater other than drinking, such as irrigation and stock watering, we encourage regular testing of groundwater to ensure its suitability for those uses.
Residents seeking further information about private water supplies should call the Department of Health and Human Services water program number on 1300 761 874 or see Private drinking water supplies on the health.vic website.
Progress has been made on the cleanup plans for both the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve and the Wangaratta Clay Target Club. The plans must be completed and submitted to EPA by 30 June 2017 and 31 August 2017, respectively.
The next community information event will be arranged following submission of these cleanup plans.
28 March 2017 update – EPA to host community meeting on 5 April
Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) will host a community meeting in April to provide the community an update on the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve lead contamination issue.
The event will take place at the North Wangaratta Football and Netball Club function room, 7 Detour Road, North Wangaratta, on Wednesday 5 April from 5.30 to 7.30pm.
The session will provide:
- the latest updates on the lead contamination investigation
- the management plan for reopening part of the football oval and the Wangaratta Clay Target Club
- an opportunity to ask questions of a panel with representatives from EPA and partnering government agencies
- more information about the next steps leading to a resolution.
7 March 2017 update – part of reserve to be reopened
EPA has determined part of North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve can be reopened to the community within the next few weeks.
Lead contamination has impacted soil and groundwater at the oval, but the soil contamination is limited to the oval’s southeast corner and to the Wangaratta Clay Target Club (the club) area.
EPA has decided the oval can be reopened if the contaminated portion is cordoned off with appropriate fencing and a management plan developed to mitigate any public health risks.
There will also be updated signage installed at the site, advising members of the public to continue to avoid the fenced area, and the remainder of the oval will need to be cleared up, mainly through mowing.
EPA will work with the Rural City of Wangaratta (the council) and sporting groups on the installation of temporary fencing, and development of the management plan.
EPA has advised the club that shooting activities can resume, pending approval from all relevant authorities, although all shooting must be conducted in accordance with a contamination management plan reviewed by EPA.
16 February 2017 update – groundwater contamination confirmed
EPA is currently reviewing an environmental site assessment detailing the extent of lead contamination at the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve from the Wangaratta Clay Target Club. The assessment was a requirement of a notice issued to the club last year.
Groundwater samples analysed from the reserve were found to have levels of lead above the health guideline levels outlined in the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG; National Health and Medical Research Council).
EPA advises that groundwater in the area may be contaminated and shouldn’t be used for drinking until these investigations are completed. For uses of groundwater other than drinking, such as irrigation and stock watering, EPA encourages regular testing of groundwater to ensure its suitability for those uses.
Residents seeking further information about private water supplies should call the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) water program number on 1300 761 874 or see Private drinking water supplies on the health.vic website.
EPA will meet with sporting groups and the recreation reserve’s community to discuss the next steps for restoring the use of the facilities as soon as possible.
30 January 2017 update – contamination assessment received
EPA has received an assessment detailing the extent of lead contamination at the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve from the Wangaratta Clay Target Club.
EPA, in consultation with the Rural City of Wangaratta and the Department of Health and Human Services, will now review the report.
After the review EPA will require the development of a cleanup plan for the future management of the reserve precinct. We will meet with sporting groups and the community associated with the recreation reserve to discuss the next steps of returning the users of the facilities as soon as possible.
22 December 2016 update – contamination assessment delayed
EPA has been informed that an assessment detailing the extent of any lead contamination at the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve is unlikely to be completed by its 30 December 2016 deadline.
However, to ensure the report is completed, Wangaratta Clay Target Club, the council, EPA and partnering government agencies have contributed financially towards the cost.
Council will now project manage the outstanding works on behalf of the club to allow the report to be delivered as soon as possible.
Contamination at the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve
EPA has issued Wangaratta Clay Target Club two notices that require the extent of lead contamination at the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve to be understood, and for measures to be put in place to prevent groundwater and land contamination occurring.
The reserve was closed to the community after lead above the health limits for recreational levels was detected in soil samples at the site’s eastern boundary.
The next step in returning the reserve to the community is to gain a full understanding of all lead contamination at the reserve. Once EPA has the full picture of how much lead is contaminating the reserve, we can then advise the most appropriate cleanup methods to ensure all traces of lead can be removed or managed appropriately.
EPA held an information session with the Wangaratta community in November to provide an update on lead contamination at the reserve. About 40 residents, including members of local sporting clubs, attended the session where they could speak to representatives from EPA and partnering government agencies to learn more about the next steps.
EPA’s investigation is ongoing. It will continue to work with the council, government agencies and the community. We will ensure the matter is dealt with as efficiently and quickly as possible to return users to the reserve while ensuring human health and environmental risks are managed.
EPA will be provided with a report that details the extent of any lead contamination at the North Wangaratta Recreation Reserve.