Accident Site Clean-up, Paynes Find

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The Site

The Great Northern Highway runs through remote regions of Western Australia for over 3,200 kilometers connecting Perth, the Capital City of Western Australia, to the mid-west, the North-West and the Northern Territory. The highway is utilised by trucks and heavy vehicles transporting goods throughout the state. In October 2013 an incident involving a waste oil tanker travelling south along the highway occurred approximately 430 km north-east of Perth near the former gold-rush town of Payne’s Find. Today all that remains in this area is a roadhouse.

The Issue

The tanker suffered a casualty, whereby the rear towed waste oil compartment swayed and overturned onto the bitumen highway then slid along the northern verge resulting in a loss of waste oils directly onto and into the soils along the dirt sidings. In the first instance a government appointed emergency responder was called to the site to contain the spill and make the roadway safe for traffic to continue along the highway. Waste oils were found to have spilt upon the bitumen road surfaces for the initial 20 meters of travel with a further 265 linear meters of northern verge soils affected with over 19,000 litres of contaminant.

The Job

The site is owned by the Main Roads Department and once the emergency responder had completed the tasks necessary to get traffic moving HRS was called in to perform remediation of the contaminated soils. The remedial objectives were to remove oil-affected soils from verge soils along the Great Northern Highway, relocate polluted soils to an appropriate disposal area and backfill the excavated areas with clean soils.

HRS estimated the volume of soils to be excavated and removed to be in excess of 400m3. The costs to transport and dispose of these heavily contaminated soils at the nearest appropriate landfill site located approximately 150 Km away was estimated to be around $150,000.

Instead HRS sought an alternate solution to transporting the contaminated soils to landfill.  Investigations in the area uncovered a site owned by the regional Main Roads department that was located a short distance from the accident site. HRS sought the necessary permissions and arranged for the transport of the waste oil contaminated soils to this site for bioremediation.

The Outcome

The roadside sidings are once again clean and verified to the satisfaction of the Main Roads
Department and the Department of Environment Regulation. The client has realised significant cost savings from these environmental works with both in reduced transportation and disposal costs. The contaminated soils are being treated and once cleared, can be used by the Main Roads department on further works in the area. Environmentally, of course, this is a significant outcome with soils
remediated for re-use rather than disposed of to landfill.

In Addition

When HRS was called to remediate roadside soils after a fuel truck incident in the same area we were able to transport these diesel contaminated soils to the same bioremediation site as
previously. Approvals were already in place and yet again HRS were able to pass on cost-savings to the client through the use of this pre-existing facility.

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