Since March 2017 the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has been assessing groundwater and soil vapour in Keswick for historically used chemicals including trichloroethene (TCE).
The EPA has been undertaking environmental assessment work to investigate the impact of groundwater contamination coming from the former Kelvinator sites in Everard Avenue, Keswick.
The EPA has now received the latest results from the site contamination assessment work in Keswick which has delineated the groundwater contamination plume.
After two stages of work, the EPA considers that all residential homes in the assessment area are safe from the risk of TCE vapour migrating into indoor air and no further work is currently planned.
Groundwater (bore water) in this area is contaminated and the EPA would like to reiterate previous advice that it should not be used for any purpose. Mains water is not affected by this issue and home grown fruit and vegetables are safe to eat providing they are not watered with contaminated bore water.
The EPA was notified of site contamination in soil at a former Kelvinator Australia Limited industrial site at Keswick during site redevelopment in November 2013. This notification triggered further testing of groundwater and soil vapour within and around the industrial site. Testing works have progressed in stages and all of the reports documenting these works are on the EPA Public Register and are available on request to the EPA.
The testing work, commissioned by former site owner and refrigerator manufacturer, Kelvinator, in consultation with the EPA, sought to better understand the extent of contamination near its former Everard Avenue site.
In December 2014, Kelvinator letterbox dropped approximately 1,500 residential and commercial properties in the Keswick/Ashford/Forestville/Everard Park area. The letter informed the community that further investigations into groundwater and soil vapour contamination had commenced in the area.
These investigations followed on from an initial vapour assessment that Kelvinator undertook in March 2014. The soil vapour measurements report (May 2014) identified concentrations of the chemical solvent trichloroethene (TCE) in soil vapour adjacent to commercial properties. The concentrations of TCE in soil vapour indicated a need for further investigations which formed part of the scope of works that commenced in November 2014 to the west of Ashford Road.
In 2016 further groundwater and soil vapour investigations undertaken, and works were also undertaken on the southern side of Everard Avenue, Keswick, commencing in August 2015 with additional works undertaken in February 2016.
During March 2017, 33 temporary soil vapour bores were installed by site contamination consultant Senversa. The air in the bores was subsequently sampled and the sample tubes were sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results from the analysis were provided to the EPA on 2 May 2017.
Letters to residents
For further information on this matter, please contact the EPA on 1800 729 175 or via email.