from Cr Kevin Baker http://bit.ly/2Uj1RQO
UPDATE ON WEST WALLSEND CEMETERY
Long story short – the cemetery will be mowed over the next couple of days (prior to Easter); a long term management strategy for the black slag is being formulated.
Full statement from Council as follows:
“Please be advised, recent inspections of the cemetery have revealed that black slag was used as back fill for a number of the graves. Black slag is a by-product of the Pasminco Cockle Creek Smelter which operated in Boolaroo until 2003. It was distributed from the smelter and was frequently used as a filling material in landscaping and engineering works in the local area due to its excellent drainage properties, easy handling, load bearing capacity, and abundant supply.
As an immediate safety measure, graves affected with black slag have been cordoned off. Council’s Risk Management team is developing a site specific risk assessment to allow maintenance works to be carried out. A Contractor is undertaking mowing over the next couple of days in readiness for Easter.
In consultation with local community representatives (who manage opening and closing of the gates daily on behalf of Council), the gates to the cemetery have been closed as there was evidence that some of the monuments and unmarked burials were being damaged from vehicle movements on the site. Pedestrian access will remain in place with a sign installed to advise visitors.
A longer term strategy to manage the contamination is also being developed. There are a number of complicating factors to be considered during the remediation of the site. The site is heritage listed, the plots are owned by individual families and the standard practise to cap black slag cannot be used as this will cover the monuments at the site. As a result, a site specific remediation action plan will need to be developed in consultation with the NSW Environment Protection Authority and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. It may be some time before this work can be undertaken.”