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Department of Environment and Science

Queensland Government

Department of Environment and Science

Historical contamination – Brisbane River – West End

12 February 2018

The Department of Environment and Science (DES) is investigating a historical contamination issue on the Brisbane River at West End.

It is understood the contamination is from a site adjacent to the corner of Donkin and Buchanan streets.

The site was the location for a tar processing facility that closed in the 1980s, and is currently being developed for residential purposes. 

Due to its past use, the land is listed on Queensland’s environmental management register.

Prior to development, an independent auditor has found contamination on the site, in groundwater, and off site, including contaminants extending into the river to at least 40 metres from the riverbank.

DES understands that the contaminants at the site are continuing to be mobilised in groundwater and are influenced by the tide, the flow of the river and seasonal variations.

Contaminants include heavy metals, hydrocarbons and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).

Queensland Health considers health risks from the sediments along the Brisbane river bank to be low.

This is because people walking on the river bank or undertaking boating activities on the river will have very low level of exposure to the sediments.

DES is working with Brisbane City Council and other Queensland Government agencies to determine what further action is required to remediate the land and waterway.

Last updated
12 February 2018