Still no word on the tests for Yarra radionuclides

The Office of Environmental Monitor (OEM) continues to avoid answering the hard question....where is the data on Yarra radionuclides?

Despite the long but little known history of CSIRO uranium processing near the Yarra River (1940s to 1960s) and a 40+ year history of contamination of the site at 506 Lorimer St. Fishermen’s Bend, (see previous news items for details) that question is still being avoided by the authorities charged with the protection of our health and our environment.   

9 months after we first asked for the data that PoMC relied upon to show that they needn’t bother testing Yarra sediments for radionuclides, and we still haven’t been shown the data. Dredging and bank stabilisation works are still ongoing in the Yarra 24/7 – and likely will be for months to come. This recent picture below gives you some idea of the “state of the art” dredge (right) that has been used to remove the 3 million tonnes of toxic sediment and load it onto the barge (left) used to carry it out into the Bay to be dumped underwater. Looks more like something from Dickensian England doesn’t it? 


©Seapics. Yarra dredging 21st February 2009. Note spillage from drag head as it dumps sludge on barge.


While other countries can apparently treat toxic material on land and recycle heavy metals, we are continuing to dig up toxins from the Yarra and then dump them again in the Bay – without the community even having been advised whether any radionuclides are present in the spoil and without the dump site even needing to be licensed by the Environment Protection Authority!




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