Crown Lands

Historic arsenic plant site to be cleaned up

 

Media release | 6 June 2022

The NSW Government will invest $3.4 million to rehabilitate the former site of an historic arsenic processing plant at Jennings near Tenterfield.

Minister for Lands and Water Kevin Anderson said the Jennings Arsenic Processing Plant produced arsenic trioxide powder to control Prickly Pear weeds from 1923 to 1928, leaving a contaminated site when it closed.

“This $3.4 million investment by Crown Lands will ensure contaminated soil that remains on site is sealed in a containment cell and the land is then revegetated so it is once again safe for the community,” Mr Anderson said.

“We aim to ensure the site is safe for residents and visitors to use for open space as part of the natural environment of the town.”

Some work was previously undertaken to rehabilitate the site in the 1950s when soil and drums were buried. In 2009 fresh topsoil was laid with a small dam built to collect runoff. The new phase of the project is expected to complete the onsite remedial works.

Crown Lands liaised with the Environment Protection Authority and Tenterfield Shire Council while investigating the site and developed a remedial strategy that meets requirements of the NSW Contaminated Land Management Act 1997.

The project is scheduled to take 10 weeks and will excavate contaminated soil and contain it on site in a cell intended to manage potential human and environmental exposure. Measures will be put in place to mitigate potential erosion and collect sediment runoff.

The site will be capped and revegetated with native grasses and then monitored to assess the site’s suitability for public access.

Groundwater, surface water and sediments at the site will continue to be monitored to protect the local community and environment.

The ongoing monitoring will inform decisions regarding appropriate future access to the site.

 

The former arsenic processing plant site at Jennings..
The former arsenic processing plant site at Jennings..

 

 

Historic photo of the plants produce.
Historic photo of the plants produce.

 

A prickly pear spray operator from the 1930s.
A prickly pear spray operator from the 1930s.