From the late 1800s into the early 1900s a carbolic acid plant operated on reclaimed land on Nelson Parade, and produced carbolic acid from coal tar. In 1911, the plant was replaced by a uranium refinery operated by the Radium Hill Company. This was built on land which is now identified as property numbers 5, 7, 9 and 11 Nelson Parade, Hunters Hill. The refinery processed uranium ore to extract radium for nuclear medicine. Low level radioactive waste water produced by this process was stored in several locations on the site.
In the 1920s, residential dwellings were constructed on the upper levels of 7 and 9 Nelson Parade. In the 1960s a house was also built on number 11. At the time contamination had not been identified on the properties.
In the decades following, studies confirmed contamination in the soil of these properties, and the NSW Government purchased numbers 7, 9, and 11 in the late 1970s and 1980s.
The dwellings at numbers 7 and 9 have been demolished, and the house at number 11 is vacant.
State Property Authority (now Property NSW) prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed remediation of the Government properties in Nelson Parade. The EA was lodged with the Department of Planning & Infrastructure (now the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) for planning approval in early November 2012.
DPE placed the EA on public exhibition from 22 November 2012 until 8 February 2013 and invited submissions from the public during that time.
All submissions received were provided to the Government, and its response to the submissions (the Submissions Report including the Preferred Project Report) was lodged with the DPE for approval on 30 January 2015.
The information below outlines the background to this project.
Remediation planning begins
The Government has tasked Property NSW with managing the remediation of 7, 9 and 11 Nelson Parade and managing the future of the properties. Property NSW is working closely with the NSW Environment Protection Authority, NSW Health, DPE, NSW Maritime and specialist consultants to plan the remediation.
Environmental consultants appointed
Property NSW appointed Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB), one of the world’s leading planning environmental firms, as lead environmental consultants for the planning phase of the remediation project.
Material to be prepared for public exhibition
The environmental consultant, PB, prepared the EA for lodgment with DPE, which then placed the EA on public exhibition and sought comments. PB also prepared the Submissions Report (including the Preferred Project Report) on behalf of Property NSW in response to the public submissions received during public exhibition of the EA.
PB has completed a range of background studies, which together with the remediation action plan (RAP) will allow an assessment of the impacts of the remediation works.
Remediation contractors appointed
Property NSW has also appointed Enviropacific Services (Enviropacific) as the remediation contractor. Enviropacific has extensive experience in this field, in both government and industry remediation projects. Enviropacific’s work methods and environmental and safety procedures will be documented in the RAP.
The material to be disposed of has been tested and classified as Restricted Solid Waste and can be disposed at an appropriately-licensed landfill facility. To ensure full compliance with the standards for disposal of this material, and to ensure workers and the public are fully protected, all excavations and material leaving the site will be monitored by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). ANSTO is Australia's national nuclear organisation and the centre of Australian nuclear expertise.
Property NSW will continue to consult with its key stakeholders following determination of the planning application by DPE, and during the remediation works.
Mail: Property NSW, GPO Box 4081, Sydney NSW 2001