In October, nine drums of waste were found dumped in a tidal lagoon off Sandy Point Road, north of Yeppoon.
In October, nine drums of waste were found dumped in a tidal lagoon off Sandy Point Road, north of Yeppoon.

Toxic drums killed marine life near Yeppoon

THE extent of contamination and environmental damage caused by nine drums of waste being illegally dumped in a tidal lagoon near Yeppoon has been revealed.

On Monday the Department of Environment and Science confirmed the contamination of a waterway off Sandy Point Road in ­October had a lethal impact on a number of aquatic species.

It said its officers had observed dead mangrove bloodworms, 10 dead crabs and 50 deceased glassfish in the days after the drums were discovered.

“Test results have shown the levels of hydrocarbon contaminants in a wetland at Sandy Point Road at Yeppoon have decreased,” the department said on Monday.

“The tests, conducted on November 19 at three sampling areas, revealed no hydrocarbon contamination to water, but elevated levels of hydrocarbon contaminants, including xylene, remain in soils and sludge near the dumping site.

“DES is continuing to monitor the site.”

The department said Queensland Health had reviewed the test results from water and soil samples and provided precautionary advice that people should not swim in the lagoon or consume seafood caught in the waterway.

“Based on the advice from Queensland Health, DES has installed temporary warning signs adjacent to the impact area,” the department said. 

“DES will continue to take samples from the lagoon to determine contaminant levels.”

The department’s ­investigation into the illegal dumping is ongoing.

It said it was continuing to conduct interviews with the assistance of the Queensland Police Service.

“The department would like to thank members of the public who provided initial reports about the drums in the waterbody, and the community for providing further information including access to CCTV footage.

“As the drums had been punctured, this early advice allowed authorities to remove them before they sank.”

Anyone with information in relation to the ongoing investigation, or any pollution events in CQ, is urged to contact police, or call the DES Pollution Hotline on 1300 130 372 Anyone with concerns about swimming or consuming seafood from the impacted area should consult their doctor.