ORANGE City Council has defended the location of a wash down bay for vehicles working on the Macquarie Pipeline to be cleaned with industrial strength degreaser near a bus stop used by schoolchildren.
The concrete wash down bay came under fire from Ro Andrews, who questioned the bay’s safety and its location near the intersection of Ophir Road and Winter Lane, about nine kilometres from Orange.
“How safe is this going to be for our children using this bus stop?” she said on the Central Western Daily’s Facebook page.
“Not only is there the danger of the chemicals being used, but the volume of vehicles is another real danger.
“Keep our kids safe OCC (Orange City Council).”
Council spokesman Allan Reeder said the wash down bay was one of four being built by the pipeline’s contractors Leed Engineering to prevent the spread of weeds and biosecurity threats along the pipeline’s construction corridor.
“When the wash down bay is operational, the pit will contain an industrial strength detergent-degreaser called Castrol Farmcleanse to a depth of about half a metre,” he said.
“Farmcleanse is approved for use on farms by the DPI. This cleaning process is a common practice in agriculture when equipment moves from farm to farm.”
Mr Reeder said the Winter Lane wash down bay was still being built, but before it was used in coming months, signage and fencing would be installed to restrict public access to the area around the pit.
“Drivers of any equipment using the pit will be very careful about any children waiting at school bus stops near the site,” he said.
Vehicles or equipment has to be cleaned at the wash down bay whenever it moves from one environmental zone to another along the pipeline route.
“The wash down process requires the vehicle to be inspected inside and out, removal of dirt or plant material using a brush, compressed air or vacuum and if necessary use of high-pressure water to the underside of wheel arches, tracks, tray area, sides, bumpers and radiator area,” Mr Reeder said.
The possibility workers on the pipeline would inadvertently spread weeds during construction was a chief concern of several landholders who objected to the pipeline cutting through their properties during the approval process last year.