Doug Robinson with toxic discovery in bushland at the back of Berserker. Drums of chemicals dumped.
Doug Robinson with toxic discovery in bushland at the back of Berserker. Drums of chemicals dumped. Sharyn Oneill

Police hunt toxic dumpers

ILLEGAL tippers sparked a toxic chemical scare when they dumped 50 drums in popular bushland at the base of Mount Archer.

The drums, most carrying poison symbols and labels indicating they contained deadly substances, were removed by council workers yesterday afternoon.

Analysis later showed the containers were full of diesel.

The alarm was raised by 67-year-old Doug Robinson, a Kangool resident who regularly walks his dog in the picturesque parkland off Peltophorum St.

HE SAYS he was horrified to find the drums scattered in long grass just off one of the walking tracks which criss-crossed the bush.

The contents were marked as a variety of highly hazardous chemicals, from industrial detergents and pool chlorine to sodium hydrochloride and sodium hydroxide.

“Someone's gone to a lot of trouble to get them here,” said Doug.

“They are at least 50 metres along a very rough track, so whoever did it must have used a hard-terrain four-wheel-drive.

“There must have been at least two people too because some of these drums are 220 litres and can't be shifted by one person.

“Kids play here. People walk their dogs and it's teeming with wildlife.

“I regularly see wallabies and quails and pheasants.”

Doug said he was particularly worried what might happen if there was a fire. The area was devastated during the bushfires last October which destroyed one home nearby and caused widespread evacuations.

“I kept thinking this stuff could be explosive.

“I certainly don't want this to happen again. It really annoys me that people think it is okay to bring their household rubbish to this area. Most days we see stuff like furniture and boxes and that kind of thing, but this takes it to a different level.”

Council officers speculated that the drums might have been stolen and dumped by the thieves who couldn't sell them.

The Rockhampton Regional Council issued a statement yesterday in response to inquiries by The Morning Bulletin.

It said: “The drums were assessed by a specialist in oil recovery and recycling and it was determined that the drums contained diesel oil.

“The issue is now a police matter, and the diesel drums have been removed.

“Oil dumping, by individuals or businesses, is not only unsafe for our environment but also against the law.

“If you see someone illegally dumping please report it to the police or the council.

“Domestic quantities of 20-litre oil drums can be taken to the Lakes Creek, Gracemere and Yeppoon Landfill sites. For disposal of commercial quantities of oil please contact a registered business that operates in the recovery and recycling of oil.

“If you are unsure and would like advice on the disposal of oil drums please call 1300225577.”



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