South Fremantle Tip Site Classified- "Contaminated - Remediation Required!"
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Do not allow the City of Fremantle to put the community health at risk by going ahead with an ill conceived plan to build a Solar Farm on the old South Fremantle Tip. One of the worst polluted and contaminated sites in WA. The site is registered under the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 with a classification of “contaminated – remediation required”.
In May 2014 the City put out an expression of interest (EOI) for a commercial operator to construct and operate a large-scale solar farm at the site. First Solar was nominated as the successful candidate. Over 12 months, the project team worked to explore and resolve technical, environmental, financial and design issues associated with the proposal.
By August 2015 First Solar, a very reputable American solar company walked away because of, “geotechnical and topographic conditions”, and the capacity of the site to accommodate a big-scale project.
Following First Solar’s withdrawal, the City’s second recommended proponent Epuron was invited to enter into a new Exclusive Working Agreement.
Fast forward to April 2018, the City of Fremantle passed the Solar Farm Business Plan. Epuron has been granted a development approval.
This is what they didn’t tell you! - The solar farm is to be built on one of the worst polluted sites in this state. The site is registered under the Contaminated Sites Act 2003 with classification of “contaminated – remediation required”. The council has no plans to remediate prior to any construction or disturbance of the site.
Any disturbance of the site comes at the expense of community health.
BUT ISN’T THE SOLAR FARM A GOOD USE OF THE LAND?
The WA Department and Environmental Regulation states: “Across the former South Fremantle landfill, soil beneath the sand cap contains metals (arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury and zinc) and asbestos. As landfill waste is heterogeneous, other contaminants may also be present.”
Groundwater is affected by heavy metals, hydrocarbons such as petrol, diesel and oil, solvents such as benzene and methylene chloride, polychlorinated biphenyls, pesticides such as dieldrin; and pathogens including anthrax.
All the listed substances are TOXIC to human health. The council is just not being honest when they state that there will be minimal disturbance to the site under construction and during its solar farm life of 20 plus years.
In 2003 Mr Lee Bell spokesman for the Western Australia Contaminated Sites Alliance had this to say; “excavations would create large amounts of contaminated dust, necessitating the evacuation of local residents within a 5km radius of the site”.
The toxins once disturbed will be in the air and carried by the strong Freo winds into communities kilometres away. If you live in Fremantle, Coogee, Hamilton Hill, Beaconsfield, Hilton, White Gum Valley, Cockburn and beyond, then your health risks are real. South Fremantle residents living close to the Tip will be exposed to heavy metal leaching and ground contaminants.
Humans are exposed to these metals by ingestion (drinking or eating) or inhalation (breathing). Working in or living near an industrial site which utilises these metals and their compounds increases one’s risk of exposure, as does living near a site where these materials have been improperly disposed.
ARSENIC – is odourless and tasteless. Inorganic arsenic is a known carcinogen and can cause cancer of the skin, lungs, liver and bladder.
CADMIUM – Cadmium and cadmium compounds are known human carcinogens. Severe damage to the lungs may occur through breathing high levels of cadmium.
LEAD – Lead is a probable human carcinogen. Lead can affect every organ and system in the body.
MERCURY – Mercuric chloride and methylmercury are possible human carcinogens. The nervous system is very sensitive to all forms of mercury.
ASBESTOS - It is when asbestos is worked with or disturbed and asbestos fibres are released that the risk of developing an asbestos related disease is increased. Asbestos-related diseases take time to develop. They usually emerge at least 10 years after exposure, and sometimes as long as 50 years later. Currently there are no cures for asbestos-related diseases.
There are lots of other nasties such as landfill gas production. Landfill gas is able to migrate through permeable material and would easily penetrate the sand capping layer over the old tip.
THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH!
The City of Fremantle Mayor and the Council is prepared to risk your health and safety to approve a project to reach its target of 100% renewable energy use in Fremantle by 2025 (under the guise of "The One Planet").
The renewable energy target can be met in other ways. This solar project is a profit-making venture for Epuron and the council gets to off load a contaminated site without having to deal with the community health risks.
If this project goes ahead, there is no turning back. Who will compensate you for health issues in the future? There are similar solar projects in Australia, where communities could take up to 40% hit on their real estate. There are good reasons why people don’t want to live next to a solar farm in a highly urbanized suburb – health and real estate!
The message to the Mayor and Councillors is simple. No disturbance of the land unless it is remediated.
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