Petition prompts Kaloorup sand mine review

Residents in Kaloorup are concerned about the number of sand mines operating in a four kilometre radius of rural and agriculture properties after it was revealed one site was potentially contaminated. (Stock image)
Residents in Kaloorup are concerned about the number of sand mines operating in a four kilometre radius of rural and agriculture properties after it was revealed one site was potentially contaminated. (Stock image)

Residents in Kaloorup are concerned about the number of sand mines operating in a four kilometre radius of rural and agriculture properties after it was revealed one site was potentially contaminated.

A petition from residents has been handed to the City of Busselton opposing another site being approved in the area.

Residents said there were 13 operations located within a four kilometre radius of their rural properties and they were concerned operators were not being compliant.

It has been revealed one operator is currently under investigation by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation for a potentially contaminated site.

That same operator is also being taken to the State Administrative Tribunal by the City of Busselton.

The Mail cannot clarify if there is a link between the tribunal hearing and the investigation undertaken by DWER.

A DWER spokesperson confirmed its investigators had observed demolition waste stockpiles at the site, some containing what appeared to be asbestos.

DWER issued the operator a notice of classification on April 17, 2018 but has received no further information to indicate the site has been investigated or cleaned up.

"Construction and demolition waste has been stockpiled and potentially buried at the site," the spokesperson said.

"The waste may include asbestos.

"DWER is progressing other regulatory compliance options to require that the appropriate investigations are completed."

In a letter addressed to councillors, one resident said a flight over the area highlighted the extent of sand extraction, describing it as a "barren wasteland."

"Like an insidious cancer, our environment is slowly and systematically being destroyed by extraction operations," the letter stated.

"The burden has always fallen on local residents to bring infringements to the attention of the city."

City of Busselton chief executive officer Mike Archer said there were typically 25-30 active extractive industry sites in the city at any time.

Mr Archer said extraction sites need to be rehabilitated to support the agreed post-extraction land-use.

"As most sites are in rural areas, that is usually to support agricultural use," he said.

"The majority of those are extracting sand only. There are other sites, though, that extract gravel and limestone.

"Active sites are typically subject of bi-annual compliance checks and operators are also required to manage their operations within agreed management plans."