Complaints Register

The project team understood that some remediation activities would impact neighbours in the short term even though the remediation was designed to remove adverse environmental impacts in the long term. As such, the project team was committed to reducing impacts from its works whenever possible and it valued feedback from the community and other stakeholders.

People who had enquiries, complaints, or who wished to comment on the Macdonaldtown Gasworks Remediation, were able to contact the Community Relations Manager, Catherine Fletcher, through the Project Information Line, 1800 009 414, or via macdonaldtownremediation@ventia.com.au

A summary of the complaints raised by community members or other stakeholders during the project is provided below.

Date Issue(s) of Complaint Resolution
13/11/14 Property Damage: A string of lights had been cut during tree removal works. The resident was financially compensated for a replacement set of lights.
17/02/15 Asbestos: Clumps of soil had been projected into a backyard adjacent to the project site. The resident was concerned the clumps were from a soil stockpile containing fragments of bonded, non-friable asbestos, which was being removed. The resident also said the tarpaulin being used to cover the stockpile overnight had been flapping in the wind. The resident was advised that the soil was most probably from tree roots that had been pulled out with the excavator in the vicinity of the stockpile. The soil clumps were removed by project team members. The resident was advised the tarpaulin would be fixed more securely at the end of each work day and this occurred.
05/03/15 Dust and Noise: Concerns were raised by a resident who lives next to the site and sometimes works from home about dust and noise impacts at his property. Information was provided about the controls implemented for minimising dust and noise levels, and the monitoring of dust and noise levels at the boundary between the site and residential area. The resident was advised that the results of dust and noise monitoring had been good since project commencement, and he was directed the monthly summary of these results on the website. The dust, noise and odour mitigation benefits of the environmental control enclosure and its emission control system, once constructed, were discussed.
10/06/15 Noise and Communications: A resident raised concerns about the level of noise from the hammering to remove an old footing unearthed near the southern noise wall, as well as the lack of notification to nearby residents about the noisy work. The old footing had been unexpectedly unearthed during works to remove bonded, non-friable asbestos fragments from soil. Removal of the footing was required for the works to continue. Due to the immediacy of the issue, a community notification was not distributed. Real time noise monitoring did not identify any exceedance of the project limit. However, as hammering is considered intensive in nature, nearby residents will be notified in the future of scheduled hammering before it commences so that they can plan their day in advance.
 4/11/15 Odour: A resident living adjacent to the project site said that she had been noticing odour from the excavation of contaminated soil for a couple of days, particularly in the mornings and afternoons. She said that she was not happy with the amenity impacts and requested improvement. The environmental controls, air quality monitoring and action response levels that relate to human health standards were explained to the resident. The Community Relations Manager said that due to the close proximity of houses to the site, residents may sometimes notice odour, however it would not be at a level that would impact health. It was agreed that environmental controls would be increased to improve the amenity impacts e.g. the rollers doors on the environmental control enclosure (ECE) would be closed as much as possible and the emission control system for the ECE would start operating continuously from the following week.
18/11/15 Odour: The NSW EPA representative was travelling on a train and smelt coal tar odour. He said that the community must be noticing the odour and requested that he be advised of what measures would be taken to ensure that the community was not impacted in the future. An e-mail was sent to the representative advising him of an increase in environmental controls to reduce odour impacts for the community i.e. the use of “air curtains” whenever the roller doors of the environmental control enclosure (ECE) are raised, the continuous use of the emission control system for the ECE, and regular reviews of the ECE’s walls to make sure that seals at the bottom of the enclosure have not been breached by the soil excavations. The e-mail also stated the project contractor’s ongoing commitment to the health and wellbeing of the community through its environmental monitoring program, which is based on NSW and national standards.
4/12/15 Odour: The resident said that he had been smelling odour at times over the last two weeks but on the day of his call it was at its worst. He asked how long there would be odour impacts. The Community Relations Manager said that odour from the contaminated soil excavations would probably be noticeable at times over the next two months. The Community Relations Manager explained the air quality monitoring program, response levels and the process of volatilisation.
7/12/15 Odour: The resident has a property adjacent to the site boundary. The resident said that she and her partner are concerned about the level and type of odour in the air and requested the environmental monitoring results so that they could be reviewed by engineering colleagues. The resident said the odour was making her and her partner feel ill. The environmental monitoring results were provided and the resident shown where the results summary could be obtained on the website. The resident agreed to call again if she had further concerns after her colleagues’ review. It was decided to trial the use of an odour suppressant spray on site. E-mails were exchanged between the resident and the Community Relations Manager in following up the resident’s concerns. Comprehensive information was sent to the resident about: how odour is not a good indicator of a chemical’s harmfulness, the human health risk assessment, the increase in environmental controls and the air quality monitoring program.
8/12/15 Odour: The resident has a property adjacent to the site boundary and she said that she may be getting headaches due to the odour from the soil excavations, although she was unsure. The resident was advised that excavations around the gasholder had finished that day, drapes were being installed to seal some small gaps at the base of the environmental control enclosure, plus an odour suppressant spray was being delivered later in the day and would be trialled. The resident advised a few days later that the increase in control measures seemed to have reduced the odour level.
8/12/15 Odour: The resident said that he had come home to find his house filled with a “fog/mist like substance” and that he could smell odour from the remediation project. The resident asked why it had happened and what would be done to make sure that it didn’t happen again. The Community Relations Manager confirmed that excavations, including those around the gasholder outside the environmental control enclosure, were producing some tar and naphthalene odours but she could not identify the “fog/mist like substance” as the remediation works do not produce such an impact. A comprehensive e-mail was sent to the resident the following day about the human health risk assessment, how odour is not a good indicator of a chemical’s harmfulness, the recent increase in environmental controls, the air quality monitoring program and the results availability on the website.
8/12/15 Odour: The resident said that he had come home to a house filled with “fog and a very strong and awful smell” from the remediation. He said that he and his partner have a strong concern for the health and well-being of the Erskineville community. He asked why the remediation odour was becoming worse despite assurance that environmental controls had been increased. The Community Relations Manager confirmed that excavations, including those around the gasholder outside the environmental control enclosure, were producing some tar and naphthalene odours but she could not identify the “fog” substance as the remediation works do not produce such an impact. A comprehensive e-mail was sent to the resident the following day about the human health risk assessment, how odour is not a good indicator of a chemical’s harmfulness, the recent increase in environmental controls, the air quality monitoring program and the results availability on the website.
18/02/16 Odour: A resident said that he had smelt strong odour lately and was concerned from a health perspective. He asked why the gasworks wastes were being burnt. The Community Relations Manager explained to the resident that no burning takes place; instead, the majority of the impacted soil goes to an EPA-licensed landfill. She said the most impacted, the tarry wastes, are treated offsite by cement stabilisation before being placed in the EPA-licensed landfill. The history of the site, how VOCs create odour, and the air quality monitoring and control program were discussed with the resident.
24/02/16 Traffic Management: A petrol station owner said that trucks with bogie trailers had been using his property as a turning circle that week and the week before, risking pedestrian safety, the tracking of dirt and damage to his property. It was confirmed that the trucks were from the project site. The Community Relations Manager apologised to the petrol station owner. All trucking companies were told to stop the practice.
8/04/16 Traffic Management: A petrol station owner said that trucks with bogie trailers were once again using his property as a turning circle as they had been two weeks earlier. The Community Relations Manager apologised to the petrol station owner and all trucking companies were told that if they were found to be undertaking the practice, their services would be terminated.
16/04/16 Traffic Management: The petrol station owner said that a truck which he believed to be from the project had used his property as a turning circle, as had occurred previously. The petrol station owner identified the trucking company by name. An apology was made by the Community Relations Manager. The new driver had not been advised about not undertaking the practice during his induction. The Community Relations Manager spoke to the Site Supervisor and the Security Officer based at the Erskineville Rd gate about the importance of telling all drivers not to undertake the practice.
24/06/16 Property Damage: A resident said that notes, which seemed to be project-related, had been written on the side of his property’s front wall. He asked that they be removed. The notes, which were survey notes written by a subcontracted surveyor, were removed.
18/08/16 Visual Amenity: A resident said that a mesh security fence being constructed atop a slope on the site, parallel to the boundary shared with residential backyards, would be an eyesore. She asked for the mesh fence to be moved to where the original site fence had been – at the bottom of the slope, about a metre from the residential paling fence – so that it would not be as visible from backyards. The Community Relations Manager explained that the mesh fence was being located atop the slope so that the drain running behind the residential paling fence could be accessed by RailCorp for weed clearance and repair when required. The resident was still not happy with the fence’s location, so it was moved closer to the drain, which reduced the view of it for most residents. However, the fence’s location could not be changed behind the resident’s house due to a new gabion basket wall beside the drain. As such, extra shrubs were planted in front of the mesh fence to improve the resident’s amenity.