Highway fuel clean up costly

THE clean-up of a fuel spill on the Bruxner Highway south of Lismore could take at least another four days, with the costs becoming ‘significant'.

About 15,000 litres of diesel and unleaded fuel were spilled after a fatal tanker truck accident 7km south of Lismore on Monday night. The 45-year-old Grafton driver was killed in the crash.

The clean-up is being coordinated by the Lismore City Council, but ratepayers can rest assured that the money to pay for it will not come out of council coffers.

The council's co-ordinator of compliance, Matt Kelly, said it was a ‘polluter pays' system.

That means Reliance Petroleum, the distributor for BP, will pay for the clean-up.

“We have de-watered the table drain along the side of highway,” Mr Kelly said.

“We have taken the petroleum products out of system, but the whole process is subject to rain.”

Contractors working on the site will de-water the table drain again today, and remain on standby in case it rains.

Mr Kelly said the next phase of the remediation would involve the removal of the contaminated soil.

“We are going to have to remove about 500 cubic metres of soil, which will go to an approved waste facility,” he said.

“It's a reasonable amount of soil, the issue being that the contaminants have drained down.

“We'll be taking away all the dirty soil and about 200mm of clean soil, just to be sure.

“I've got no idea about the cost, but it will be significant.”

Mr Kelly said it was hoped the RTA would today approve a traffic control plan so that both lanes of the highway could be reopened.

The speed limit would be red-uced to possibly 60km/h whileremediation works are completed.

For up to date information on the highway situation, visit www.rta.nsw.gov.au.

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