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Ityamai-itpina (Park 15) Soil Contamination

City of Adelaide has detected contamination in soils in Ityamai-Itpina (Park 15). This was identified as part of routine preparatory works ahead of a planned upgrade to the park. The contamination was not previously known to Council.

The presence of the contaminants is consistent with many urban areas where fill materials from older industry and street sweepings are present. In this instance the contamination has been identified as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs).

While the concentrations of PAHs vary across Ityamai-Itpina (Park 15), and some levels exceed generic soil guidelines, this does not automatically mean there is a risk to the health of people using the park or who have previously used the site. Based on the specialist advice received to date, it is unlikely that members of the public who have accessed and used the park have been exposed to unacceptable levels of risk.

What it does mean, is that it is important that additional work is undertaken to fully understand the contamination at the site so that we can implement appropriate measures to fully remediate the environment and ensure there is no risk of any future exposures. 

ACC will continue working with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), in its role as the environmental regulator, to ensure the appropriate method to fully remediate the site for public use is implemented.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long has Council known it is contaminated?

While conducting routine pre-infrastructure upgrade works the soil contamination was detected. Council first became aware of the contamination from its consultants on Monday 16 November 2015. We believe the Glover East Playground was first established in the 1920s.

What is the area contaminated with?

The soil contamination is described as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). SA Health website states that “The distribution of PAHs in the environment is extensive and the general public may be exposed to PAHs found in soil/dust, air, water, food or household products”.

What are Polycylic Aromatic Hydrocarbons?

PAHs are a group of over 100 different chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil and gas, garbage or other organic substances like tobacco or charbroiled meats.  They are usually found as a mixture containing two or more of these compounds such as soot. Pure PAHs usually exist as colourless, white or pale yellow green solids and are found in coal tar, crude oil, creosote and roofing tar and can even be used in medicines, to make dyes, plastics and pesticides.

What are the possible health affects of the contaminant?

The effects on human health will depend on the extent of exposure, both in terms of duration and concentration, the innate toxicity of the PAHs and whether exposure occurs via inhalation, ingestion or skin contact. A variety of other factors can also affect health impacts from such exposure, including pre-existing health status and age.

Where has it come from/Why is it there?

The presence of the contaminants is consistent with many urban areas where fill materials from older industry and street sweepings are present. In days gone by the dangers of dumping environmental waste were not clear and rules have since been streamlined and ACC has set in place systems of soil testing prior to remediation or upgrade where contamination is detected and dealt with as necessary. The contaminant is likely to have been present on this site for many decades.

Are there other parks in the Park Lands that are contaminated?

It is not a regulatory requirement to test for contaminants in the soil; however as a matter of best practice City of Adelaide conducts soil testing and remediation where necessary when a site is due for upgrade or major works.

We are certain that the parks we have recently upgraded/redeveloped and tested do not pose a risk to public health. These include Bonython Park, Princess Elizabeth and the proposed Park 9 play space.

Council is currently considering the pro-active testing of soils at all its play spaces to better understand the extent of contaminants in these highly used areas.

What is Council doing to address this?

Council is working with the EPA and its consultants to determine an agreed environmental management plan for the site which may involve some level of soil remediation or capping.

More Information

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