EPA says no evidence of harm after rail derailment

On December 27, 2011, a freight train owned and operated by Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltd derailed at the Edith River Bridge Crossing. About 240 tonnes of freight, a crew van, 16 containers, and an approximate total dry load of copper concentrate of 1500 dry metric tonnes overturned into the Edith River. THE EPA has found that there was no evidence no evidence ofenvironmental harm from two incidents at Edith River in December 2011.
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Minister for Lands, Planning and the Environment, PeterChandler, this week received a copy of the Environment Protection Agency’sreport on the incidents.

Mr Chandler said the independent body has found thatbiological monitoring shows no evidence of environmental harm from two eventson the same day – a train derailment and a release of surface water from theMount Todd gold mine.

Mr Chandler said the report found that further considerationof a prosecution against the companies involved was not warranted.

On December 27, 2011,a freight train owned and operated by Genesee & Wyoming Australia Pty Ltdderailed at the Edith River Bridge Crossing.About 240 tonnes of freight, a crew van, 16 containers, and anapproximate total dry load of copper concentrate of 1500 dry metric tonnesoverturned into the Edith River. This was reported to the Pollution Hotlineoperated by the EPA.

Also reported on the same day was a suspected “uncontrolleddischarge” via a spillway into the Edith River from Mount Todd mine’s RetentionPond 1 (RP1). The report was made by Vista Gold Australia Pty Ltd (VistaGold). Uncontrolled discharges from the minecontinued from 27 December 2011 until 5 January 2012.

Mr Chandler said the report identified that: Copperconcentrations attributable to the accident occurred over a short time and weretherefore unlikely to have a long term environmental impact;

Reporting and monitoring of the events was adequate; therewas a significant recovery and clean up response by the companies.

Mr Chandler said the EPA had organised an independent reviewthat determined health and environmentalrisks were low from remaining small amount of debris.

Mr Chandler said the agency advised that the rail companywould be conducting a further assessment to consider whether a further clean upof freight was necessary.

“I am pleased that there was no long term environmentaldamage to the area,” Mr Chandler said.

“Accidents such as these are regrettable but there has beenextensive analysis of the effects of the spill of copper.

“I am satisfied that there will be ongoing monitoring of thearea.”

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