Construction of Bomaderry’s new Woolworths remains on hold, with the land owner ordered to conduct further testing to determine the extent of the contamination.
Late last year, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) declared the site “significantly contaminated” after chlorinated hydrocarbons including trichloroethylene (TCE) were found in the soil and groundwater.
According to the EPA, TCE is a non-flammable, colourless liquid mainly used to remove grease from metal parts, that has the potential to cause adverse health risks.
EPA testing found the levels of contamination could be detrimental to people and the environment, and has since ordered Woolworths, through its own in-house corporate property division Fabcot, to conduct more definitive testing.
“The NSW Environment Protection Authority has requested the landowner conduct further investigation and testing to help determine the nature and extent of the contamination,” an EPA spokesperson said.
There are also concerns the contamination could effect neighbouring residents and pose potential risk to the ecosystems of Bomaderry Creek and Bomaderry Creek Regional Park.
Fabcot is expected to submit a Voluntary Management Proposal to the EPA by mid-March 2019. This will outline how they will further assess and manage the contamination and keep the community informed.
The contamination in the water and soil is believed to have been caused by the former John Bull Rubber Company and the blaze that gutted the John Bull Centre in July 2011. The fire caused more than $5 million in damage and destroyed several businesses and warehouse units.
Fabcot bought the property in June 2014 last year for more than $3 million, with the supermarket expected to cost $13.8 million.