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Prosser River Fuel Contamination Investigations

​​​​​​​​​​Current Situation

​Hydrocarbon (fuel) contamination associated with the former Service Station at 44 Tasman Highway, Orford was detected below the surface in some places along a section of the Prosser River foreshore known as Radar Beach (see map).​​​​​​​

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Investigation and clean-up of the contamination is being regulated by the EPA by way of a Remediation Notice under Section 74F of the Environmental Management and Pollution Control Act 1994

This Remediation Notice may be viewed through the Regulated Premises layer on the Tasmanian Government LISTMap website. Click on the icon located on the map at 44 Tasman Highway Orford​.

A report received by the EPA (dated 28 April 2020) concludes that contaminant concentrations decrease significantly within 10 metres of the former shoreline. This is due to biological breakdown of the petrol contamination. The likelihood of a health risk arising to recreational users of the sandy foreshore is considered to be low and there does not appear to be a risk to ecological receptors in Prosser Bay. To provide additional assurance regarding a limited area near the public walkway the EPA has requested a further report on the investigation of the fuel pollution to be provided within 2 months of cessation of the State of Emergency for COVID-19. The EPA will provide an update at that time.

As a precaution the EPA advises users of Radar Beach not to dig in the sand and the current warning signage will remain in place until the additional sampling is completed. Other beach uses are not affected by the fuel contamination. For further information regarding recreational swimming areas in Orford please visit the Glamorgan-Spring Bay Council website.

Background

Hydrocarbon (fuel) pollution arising from the former Service Station at 44 Tasman Highway, Orford has been regulated by the Environment Protection Authority since 2013. 

​Various investigations have been completed and remediation works, including removal of significant quantities of polluted groundwater, occurred during 2016-2018. 

In 2017-18 the foreshore area was substantially modified and expanded as part of the works to open the mouth of the Prosser River. 

A recent review by a specialist contamination consultant found that pollution continues to be present in groundwater and may approach the surface at unknown locations near the water’s edge.

In response to the this advice, the EPA required the operator of the former service station at 44 Tasman Highway to reinstate previous signage, as required under a Remediation Notice, to warn foreshore users about the pollution. 

In December 2019 the EPA Director required further investigation designed to better understand the risks relating to the fuel pollution.

In January 2020, as a precaution, the EPA advised users of Radar Beach not to dig in the sand. Other beach uses are not affected by the fuel contamination. For further information regarding recreational swimming areas in Orford please visit the Glamorgan-Spring Bay Council website.

On 28 April 2020, the EPA received a report entitled Supplementary Foreshore Investigation and Groundwater Monitoring Event. The report indicates that groundwater between the former service station and the foreshore remains contaminated but that the contamination breaks down rapidly at the foreshore. The report recommends ongoing groundwater monitoring and development of an environmental management plan. Additionally, the EPA has required another assessment of vapour concentrations in soil, to inform the management plan.​

The Environment Protection Authority acknowledges the Tasmanian Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians of lutruwita (Tasmania) and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.