Cleanest dirt in town!

Melbourne’s Bayside City Council is taking action to ensure that the new North Brighton Children’s Centre has the cleanest playground in town. As part of the extensive planning and management process, Council commissioned soil testing to ensure that there were no potential health risks for the children who will be using the centre.

The routine soil tests, which are undertaken at any significant development sites, revealed a low level contamination problem on the site. Soil tests are used to highlight elevated levels of contaminants that can accumulate naturally or be due to human activity.

The soil tests have revealed a low contaminant level of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs can form through a variety of processes including the incomplete burning of wood, coal, oil, gas, garbage and other organic substances, such as tobacco and charbroiled meat. PAHs are present throughout the environment and even in our own homes in products like cereal, breads, grains, flour, vegetables, fruits and meat.

As part of a comprehensive action plan, Council has employed a geotechnical consultant to conduct ongoing site management throughout the development in accordance with EPA guidelines. The contaminated soil in all ‘open’ areas of the site will be removed, taken to a licensed site, and replaced with certified ‘clean fill’.

“Council have taken positive steps to ensure that the North Brighton Children’s Centre site is in tip top shape and ready for use,” said Bayside Mayor, Councillor Terry O’Brien. “This centre has been designed as an environmentally friendly complex including the use of energy efficient lighting, evaporative cooling, solar hot water heating and much more.

“Now the initial soil testing is complete, Council can plan for whatever remediation action is necessary to ensure that children will be free to enjoy a wonderful centre when it opens in February 2003. Council is pleased to be able to play a role in making our children’s environment that bit safer, just another example of where funds are spent, in this case, helping a future generation.”

As part of the management plan, appropriate handling techniques will be used to eliminate any effects on surrounding areas. The NBCC site is not Bayside owned land, but Council has taken this action in the role of ‘committee of management’.