ONE of Bathurst’s worst eyesores is not going anywhere – unfortunately.
The former gasworks in lower Russell Street, which has sat vacant for decades, has become a local landmark for all the wrong reasons.
There has been some remediation carried out at the site in regard to soil contamination, but the building itself has remained in a poor state for as long as many residents can remember.
According to records, the site is owned by the crown but has not been used since AGL ended gas production there in 1987.
Bathurst Regional Council entered into an agreement with the Environment Protection Authority in 2006 to partly remediate the site, using funding made available by the previous state government.
That work has included removing tarry wastes from disused structures on the site, remediating soil and installing groundwater monitoring wells to assess the impact the gasworks has had on surrounding soils and water.
In the meantime, the operational elements of the gasworks site – including the retort houses, gasholders, boiler, tar wells and tar tank – remain relatively intact.
A council spokesperson said the building was under the control of the Jemena energy company, which was involved in ongoing discussions with the relevant state government departments as to its future.
Footnote: As a consequence of the site’s historic land use, it has been identified by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (the EPA, formerly DECC) as posing a significant risk of harm to human health and the environment, and is considered by the EPA as a site of high priority with regards to remediation.
The Voluntary Remediation Agreement with the EPA allowed council to undertake the remediation work in a number of stages as funding became available.
The last time any remediation work was carried out at the gasworks site was in 2009.