Detection of elevated lead levels at Captains Flat

We have found lead and other heavy metals in soil samples taken from the Captains Flat Station and Yard located at 1 Copper Creek Road, Captains Flat. The site has a long history as the former load out facility for the nearby Lake George Lead Ore Mine between 1939 and 1969.

Some asbestos was also identified in surface soils along the Copper Creek rail embankment and in surface soils along the rail corridor.

We notified the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) as we are required to do. We have fenced the area to create an exclusion zone and installed warning signs. We recently engaged Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Shire Council to spray seal the Copper Creek Road crossing and road surfaces in the nearby SES compound. This will prevent access to the contaminated soils and we will make sure this capping layer is maintained.

Our next steps are to complete planning and environmental approvals for the proposed remediation.

Latest news

JUN 2022

JUN 2022Community information session

On Wednesday 15 June 2022, we partnered with members of the Captains Flat Taskforce to host a community information session in Captains Flat.

The drop-in session provided an opportunity for the community to better understand the proposed remediation work. Representatives of Transport for NSW, NSW Health, the EPA, Regional NSW and Queanbeyan-Palarang Regional Council were on hand to answer questions.

View the latest community update (PDF, 515Kb).

APR 2022

APR 2022Updated Voluntary Management Proposal

In April 2022, we submitted an updated Voluntary Management Proposal to the EPA. This outlines the key stages in the remediation process. There were some delays in completing the Detailed Site Investigation due to the Site Auditor identifying data gaps in the draft report.

We have now completed more investigations and are currently developing the site remediation plan. We are still planning to complete remediation work as planned in December 2023.

View the Voluntary Management Proposal (PDF, 162Kb) for more information.

Project information

We are working with the Department of Regional NSW and Legacy Mines to remediate this site as part of their Lake George Lead Ore Mine remediation.

At this stage we plan to start remediation in mid-2023 and complete work by December 2023. The remediation work will then be assessed by an EPA-accredited Auditor to ensure it complies with their strict standards.

We will continue to engage with local stakeholders and Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Shire Council to ensure the site remediation plan considers the needs of the local community.

Protecting the health and wellbeing of the community and the environment is our highest priority. We will keep you updated as we continue our planning. 

Frequently asked questions

  • We have found lead and other heavy metals in soil samples taken from the Captains Flat Station and Yard located at 1 Copper Creek Road, Captains Flat. Some asbestos was also identified in surface soils along the Copper Creek rail embankment and in surface soils along the rail corridor.
  • The soil samples showed levels of heavy metals, including lead, varied at different locations at the site. Lead levels varied from low to levels above the guidelines for industrial land. The highest levels of lead were found in the area of the former load out facility and rail corridor.
  • Transport for NSW is committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of the community. We have fenced the area to create an exclusion zone and installed warning signs. We recently engaged Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Shire Council to spray seal the Copper Creek Road crossing and road surfaces in the nearby SES compound. This will prevent access to the contaminated soils and we will make sure this capping layer is maintained.
  • Dust controls will be in place to ensure the safety of the community. Copper Creek Road crossing and road surfaces in the nearby SES compound were spray sealed. This will prevent access to the contaminated soils and we will make sure this capping layer is maintained.
  • We tested for lead by taking samples of soil from across the site. These samples were taken from different locations to help us understand the levels of lead across the rail corridor in more detail.
  • We completed a site assessment and identified asbestos along the rail embankment. The asbestos will be safely removed during the remediation.
  • We notified the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) as we are required to do. We are working with the EPA and other government agencies to implement the measures required to protect the health of the community and the environment.
  • Testing was completed at Captains Flat Station and Yard located at 1 Copper Creek Road, Captains Flat.
  • Transport for NSW established that the Captains Flat Loadout area was used to load lead ore concentrate from the Lake George Mine for transport by rail. Following consultation with the Captains Flat Taskforce, Transport started testing in the rail corridor at Captains Flat Station and Yard.
  • Plants do not readily absorb lead, but the amount they do absorb depends on the species and the variety of plant, the chemical composition of the soil, the amount of lead in the soil and the soil temperature. Leafy vegetables and herbs tend to accumulate more lead compared to fruiting vegetables.

    Fruit and vegetables should be grown in raised garden beds, using clean imported soil and washed prior to cooking and consuming.

  • Transport for NSW is committed to ensuring the health and wellbeing of the community. We have notified the EPA and are working with the relevant government agencies to ensure we fully address any impacts on the community.

    We have fenced the area to create an exclusion zone and installed warning signs. We recently engaged Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Shire Council to spray seal the Copper Creek Road crossing and road surfaces in the nearby SES compound. This will prevent access to the contaminated soils and we will make sure this capping layer is maintained.

  • Yes. All final reports will be published on the project website and are provided below.
  • We have now completed testing and are currently developing the site remediation plan. We are planning to start remediation work in mid-2023 and complete work in December 2023.

  • The likelihood that a person has been exposed is dependent on several factors including the level of lead in the immediate environment and activities that could increase exposure, the length of exposure and the person’s age and general health. If you are concerned about possible exposure to high levels of lead, please see your local GP to request a blood test.
  • In general, poultry foraging in soils containing elevated lead levels may swallow enough lead to cause their eggs to become potentially unsuitable for consumption. To prevent this from occurring:

    • poultry should not be allowed to range freely where lead is suspected
    • poultry can be housed on a concrete or bitumen floor with a 150mm layer of straw or wood shavings
    • visibly dirty eggs may be wiped with a damp cloth.

Further information

For more information about Captains Flat Station and Yard, please visit the NSW Government webpage

For more information about lead exposure, please see advice from NSW Health.

For more information about managing lead in the environment see the EPA fact sheet.

If you couldn’t attend the community information session and have questions that are not covered in the FAQs, please contact the project team:

Project documents

Community updates

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File Title Size
June 2022 community update

Detection of elevated lead levels at Captains Flat.

515Kb
June 2022 community update

Voluntary Management Proposal – Captains Flat Station & Yard.

489Kb

Reports

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File Title Size
April 2022 Voluntary Management Proposal

Notice to Amend Approved Voluntary Management Proposal.

162Kb
April 2022 Captains Flat Detailed Site Investigation

Captains Flat Detailed Site Investigation.

19.7Mb
March 2022 Captains Flat Environmental Management Plan

Captains Flat Environmental Management Plan.

2.27Mb
October 2020 Captains Flat Preliminary Site Investigation

Captains Flat Preliminary Site Investigation.

17.02Mb

 

Contact us

Phone: 1800 491 566

Email: landassesment@transport.nsw.gov.au

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