Fears for buildings after Canberra service station fuel leak contaminates soil and groundwater

A fuel leak at a petrol station in Canberra’s west has leached into surrounding soil and contaminated groundwater, leaving nearby homeowners and businesses worried their properties will have to be demolished.

A letter sent out to nearby residents said assessments had found there was “evidence that soil, groundwater and soil vapour [had been] contaminated”.

The Caltex service station in Kippax first discovered the leak in mid-February, at which point it decommissioned the tank.

Assessments are underway to determine the extent of the damage, with engineering firm WSP Australia brought in to conduct environmental investigations at the site.

“Investigations to date indicate that the ambient air (the atmosphere) is not contaminated by petroleum hydrocarbons and is not flammable.”

Investigations have confirmed the service station does not pose a health risk and continues to operate, while tap water remains unaffected by the fuel leak and completely safe to drink.

The letter to nearby residents also said there had been extensive work done to pump out and recover the fuel from beneath the service station.

Residents in nearby apartments said these silver rods were recently placed in the ground as part of the investigation. (ABC News: Selby Stewart)

“Fuel recovery is ongoing, and a significant proportion of lost product has been recovered,” the letter said.

Investigations to determine the full extent and nature of the leak, in consultation with the ACT Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and an independent environmental auditor are ongoing.

“We have now completed onsite investigations and are expanding works to include off-site areas surrounding the site,” it said.

“Access to your property may be required so that we can determine the extent of the leak and identify if any further remediation activities are required.

“Once the nature and extent of the contamination and any associated risks are determined, a report detailing the outcomes of investigative works will be provided to the EPA.”

‘We don’t know how bad it is’

Dee looks away from the camera so you can only see the back of her head and her dog.
Kippax resident Dee Brown said she was worried the petrol could be hazardous to her health.(ABC News: Selby Stewart)

Resident Dee Brown, who did not want to reveal her face so as to protect her identity, has lived in the unit block across the road from the Caltex petrol station for 12 months.

She is one of more than 10 residents living in the complex.

Ms Brown said the letter was hand-delivered by one of the workers in July, but she had since heard nothing.

“I’m worried about the extent of the leak, we don’t know how bad it is,” Ms Brown said.

“We were told it wasn’t that bad but they’re clearly still here drilling.”

Other residents, who asked for anonymity, said they were concerned the buildings would need to be demolished.

“They tested fumes levels in our building twice and said there wasn’t anything to worry about.”

Nearby business owners said workers were also testing underground.

“They’ve been testing out the back for a while now and we haven’t been told the results,” one worker, who wanted to remain anonymous, said.

“They said they were testing for environmental damage.

“But we’re worried they’ll have to knock this entire complex down if it’s contaminated.”

Large sections of the service station remain blocked off and dozens of oil drums have been lined up alongside the store.

Likelihood of off-site impacts ‘low’: EPA

In a statement, the EPA said Caltex had so far complied with its obligations in response to the fuel leak.

They said the likelihood of any off-site impacts, including contamination, was low.

“It would be inappropriate to provide any further comment at this time as it may impact the ongoing investigation by the EPA,” it said.

Caltex has been contacted for comment.

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United Cajun Navy Survey Damaged Buildings, Overturned Boats, in Alabama

The United Cajun Navy, a search-and-rescue volunteer group, surveyed the damage caused by Hurricane Sally in Orange Beach, Alabama, early on September 16, with video showing damaged buildings, overturned boats and flooding. The National Hurricane Center said the hurricane made landfall near Gulf Shores, just west of Orange Beach, at 4:45 am local time and would bring “historic and catastrophic flooding in parts of northwest Florida and southern Alabama.” It also warned of a “life-threatening storm surge” from the Alabama coast to the western Florida panhandle. Credit: United Cajun Navy via Storyful

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Graffiti vandals attack Wingello buildings | Goulburn Post

news, local-news,

A series of graffiti attacks has left Wingello residents “frustrated, angry and disappointed”. Locals discovered the tags in several places including at the fire station, the hall, the bus station and the train station on Monday morning. Perhaps the most shocking piece of graffiti was on the Casburn Park sign, where a person has scrawled “is on fire”. The vandals also attempted to graffiti the Wingello Village Store. However it is believed they may have been interrupted by a resident. Store owner David Bruggeman said this incident was a distraction for residents after the summer bushfires and the COVID-19 lockdown. Read also: Ticketless parking system installed in Bowral Diesel prices fall in Southern Highlands town Night road closure on Illawarra Highway at Macquarie Pass “The big problem is we’re rebuilding from the fires. As we’re getting closer to bushfire season, everyone is nervous. Suddenly we have idiots into coming from town,” Mr Bruggeman said. “It’s not as if they’re protesting. It’s basically vandalism, it’s just scribble. “There’s no redeeming features of that. What’s it going to do? Just make everyone frustrated, angry and disappointed.” Mr Bruggeman said residents banded together during the graffiti clean-up on Monday, which was another example of the village’s resilience. “As a community we do things together. The village got together quickly to help out and do their bit,” he said. Residents have reported the matter to police and provided security camera footage. Southern Highlands Police has been contacted for comments. Call Moss Vale Police Station on 4868 1222 if you have any information about this incident.


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NAICOM moves to enforce compulsory insurance of public buildings

To drive the enforcement of the compulsory insurance of public buildings across the country, The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) in Abuja has inaugurated a technical committee.

The committee was inaugurated by NAICOM’s Commissioner for Insurance, Mr Mohammed Kari, and it has membership drawn from NAICOM, the Federal Fire Service (FFS) from all the zones and the Nigeria Insurance Association (NIA).

But the steering committee is made up of the Commissioner for Insurance, the Controller-General of the Federal Fire Service and the Director-General of the NIA.

Speaking at the committee’s inauguration, Mr. Kari said it was the responsibility of the committee to advise the steering committee on how public building funds would be effectively and efficiently disbursed in the country.

Represented by the Deputy Commissioner for Insurance, Technical, Mr Thomas Sunday, Kari sad that NAICOM, under the National Insurance Act 2003, had the responsibility of ensuring that public buildings and buildings under construction were insured.

“By public buildings, we mean all schools, hospitals, hotels and offices, and they have the responsibility to show evidence that they have complied with Section 65 of the Insurance Act 2003,’’ he said.

“We have the responsibility for collecting of funds, monitoring and also disbursing the funds for the purpose of improving fire activities in Nigeria.

“0.25 per cent of premium collected with respect to public buildings are supposed to be accumulated in the fire funds. But over time, these funds have not been forthcoming because the process for collection is not put in place,” he said.

He said that some of the funds would be used for the purchase of vehicles for inspection, investigation and also for the purpose of publicity.

The commissioner said that about N78 million had already been accumulated in the funds, adding that a template had been given to the market that would ensure proper enforcement for collection of more funds.

[Daily Trust]

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Beirut explosion: The battle to save the city’s buildings

Many fear that structural damage may be used as an excuse to tear buildings down instead of restoring them. “There are rumours that the owners are being offered money to sell them… There is a risk that whoever is going to buy the buildings will just knock them down and build a skyscraper to take advantage of the land, generate more money, more profit,” says Khoury.

A decree issued by the ministry of finance on 12 August aims to prevent ‘exploitation’ in the wake of the blast by preventing the sale of any historic building without the permission of the minister of culture. But Atallah says that there are still multiple threats that must be tackled urgently, including the risk of abandonment by those who don’t have the funds to rebuild. “During the civil war… we did have situations of people leaving behind their houses, their buildings, and never coming back. We do not want this to happen,” he says. Another danger is that with so many families temporarily displaced, some are simply patching up the damage as quickly and cheaply as they can, filling in the historic arched windows to provide shelter from the coming winter rains.

Volunteers have been working to reassure owners and tenants that help is on its way. “They are not alone in this fight… Once the correct system is put in place there will be ways to finance the renovation of historical buildings that were damaged by the explosion. It’s really something that is being taken very seriously by many international organisations,” says Atallah. “They shouldn’t despair – even though they have all the reason in the world to despair. For us it is extremely important… We want to save not only the buildings but the social fabric that makes these buildings alive.”

Bouyout Beirut @bouyoutbeirut was created by Joseph Khoury and Gabriela Cardozo.

All photos by Joseph M Khoury @joekhourystudio

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Lebanese protesters storm ministry buildings as anger over Beirut blast grows

The day began with funerals for some of the 158 men and women killed by Tuesday’s monster blast but turned to rage when the most significant anti-governing administration protest in months escalated.

With stability forces targeted on a huge collecting at the Martyrs’ Sq. protest hub, a team led by retired army officers snuck into the international ministry and declared the developing a “headquarters of the revolution”.

The stunt, which marked a new growth in the system of a protest camp whose October 17 rebellion had misplaced steam recently, was facilitated by the harm the port blast shockwave experienced inflicted to the building.

But the takeover lasted barely three hrs.

Substantial army reinforcements utilizing rubber bullets and tear gasoline drove out the about 200 protesters, who only experienced time to chant celebratory slogans against the government and burn a portrait of President Michel Aoun.

At 1 issue, protesters experienced stormed or taken about 4 crucial official properties.

“We are officially at war with our govt,” mentioned activist Hayat Nazer, as tear gas crammed the air in downtown Beirut. “This is war.”

Anti-govt protesters toss stones and clash with the riot police, all through a protest in Beirut previously this 7 days.


‘Lebanon is ours’ 

Independent teams of protesters also stormed the economy ministry, the Affiliation of Financial institutions in Lebanon and the power ministry before currently being compelled out by the military shortly afterwards. 

The latter is the emphasis of particular anger from the inhabitants, which has in recent months been subjected to worse than ever energy cuts thanks to the de facto individual bankruptcy of the condition.

“They ruled Lebanon for 30 decades, now Lebanon is ours,” explained a person protester talking on dwell Lebanese television broadcasts.

“We entered the strength ministry and we are here to keep. They will be surprised by our actions,” he said, referring to the ruling political course protesters want to take away.

Lebanese anti-government protesters during clashes with riot police during a protest in Beirut, Lebanon, 08 August 2020.

Lebanese anti-governing administration protesters all through clashes with riot law enforcement all through a protest in Beirut, Lebanon, 08 August 2020.


The Affiliation of Banks in Lebanon, also an evident concentrate on for protesters who have routinely nicknamed their rulers “the governing administration of banking companies,” was ransacked, an AFP reporter explained.

By 10:30 pm (1930GMT) on the other hand, protesters had been dispersed and security forces deployed throughout the metropolis, the place the damaged glass and rubble from Tuesday’s catastrophe blended with the smoking stays of a night time of rage.

The rallies claimed a human toll way too, with one policeman falling to his dying adhering to an “assault” by “rioters”, the law enforcement said.

Dozens of folks wounded throughout the violence also required therapy in hospitals previously bursting with the hurt from Tuesday’s mega-blast and coronavirus individuals.

Saturday’s activities, which disclosed new and much more elaborate strategies on the component of the protesters, eclipsed a laconic televised speech by Primary Minister Hassan Diab, who advised early elections.

Heads will roll

Underneath elevated force from the road, which wants heads to roll around the Beirut port tragedy, and international companions exasperated by the leadership’s incapacity to enact reforms, Diab’s governing administration was fraying at the edges.

A bloc of a few MPs from an opposition Christian get together resigned from parliament Saturday, bringing to 5 the range of lawmakers to quit due to the fact the August 4 explosion.

When he frequented the blast internet site on Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron warned that the billions of pounds in available support would not be forthcoming if the Lebanese state did not carry out deep modifications.

Crippled by debt and the area currency’s nosedive, threatened by a spike in COVID-19 scenarios, Lebanon can ill-afford international isolation, but its hereditary ruling class is digging its heels in.

On the eve of an global donor conference organised by Macron for catastrophe-stricken Lebanon, many have urged international powers not to funnel much more income into thieving and incompetent arms.

“We call on all the anguished Lebanese men and women to consider to the streets to demand the prosecution of all the corrupt,” stated Sami Rammah, the retired normal who spearheaded the quick-lived occupation of the foreign ministry Saturday.

Arab League main Ahmed Aboul Gheit met prime officers in advance of envisioned visits by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel.

Near the substantial crater brought on by Tuesday’s explosion, whose shockwave was felt on the island of Cyprus, teams of Lebanese and foreign rescuers had been digging through the rubble in an 11-hour thrust to uncover survivors.

According to the well being ministry, at least 158 people today have been killed and 6,000 have been wounded by the blast, which in a couple seconds levelled the port and sowed as considerably destruction in some locations as 15 decades of civil war experienced carried out a generation ago.

Syrian authorities explained above 40 Syrians had been between the useless, however it was unclear if they had been element of the Lebanese health ministry’s tally. 

The Netherlands also declared that its ambassador’s wife had died on Saturday of injuries sustained in the blast.

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