BELLEVUE Residents and Ratepayers Association president Martin Chape says 2001’s large chemical fire on an industrial block in Bellevue put residents at risk.
Since then, an extensive government inquiry led to the appointment of a specialist environmental company to oversee a clean-up of the site.
Fourteen years on, the cause of the fire has never been determined, despite investigations and a government inquiry into how it started and its side-effects for those exposed to the chemicals.
Mr Chape said the Bellevue community appreciated the amount of effort and time needed to investigate the clean up despite the community being, at times, frustrated at the long delay.
After the fire there were two distinct areas of contamination.
“One was on the original storage site and one closer to the damp lands towards the Helena River,” Mr Chape said.
A company called Golders built a down gradient plume management barrier which has prevented the contamination plumes continuing towards the Helena River, which was designed to last for about 15 years.
Landcorp economic and employment lands acting general manager David Lewis said the final phase of remediation would be completed as per the Department of Environment regulation.
“Work on the site will begin in early 2016 on removing concrete slabs and services from the site and then remediation of the soil will follow,” he said.
It is expected the clean-up will take 12 to 18 months.
“Dust monitoring will be in place during the excavation work,” Mr Lewis said.
It is believed the government will offer the site for sale, which is currently zoned light industrial.
So far, the clean-up has cost about $5.5 million. The clean-up for the final stage of the site is currently out to tender.
The Department of Environment said at this stage it would be inappropriate to comment on the potential cost.