Opponents of the Port Phillip Bay Channel Deepening project vigorously opposed dumping of more than 3 million m3 of contaminated sediments from the Lower Yarra River in the Bay. But CDP proponents claimed the toxic sediments would be contained underwater within in a 6km2 clay walled area.
After dredging and dumping had started, Baykeeper learned of evidence suggesting uranium and thorium had entered the Yarra from a CSIRO research facility at 506 Lorimer Street Fishermens Bend between1945 to 65. These contaminants are most likely still under the wharf, but river currents, tidal movements, and turbulence from ships may have shifted them in all directions.
Radionuclides remobilised by dredging and dumping could well be introduced into the food chain; and Thorium is believed to cause liver cancer. I called for dredging to stop until the risk had been assessed.
No testing for radionuclides in Yarra sediments has been conducted, despite repeated submissions to the Channel Deepening Community Liaison Group (convened by Port of Melbourne Corporation).
Now, on completing the Channel Deepening, PoMC propose to conduct maintenance dredging in the Yarra, and more dumping in the Bay… What do you reckon? Is that OK?