Company hoses down danger from spill

BLAYNEY waste management company Environmental Treatment Solutions (ETS) has hosed down the seriousness of an on-site incident last Thursday which hospitalised nine people and forced the evacuation of a school.

The company’s management is yet to comment publicly about the incident which emergency services described as a 25-metre chemical spill, but will host an information session next week to give the community “a better understanding” of the business.

In a statement on the company’s website the incident was described as “unforeseen decomposition products from an on-site process”, not a chemical spill, which produced a scent of rotten egg gas at an “an extremely low airborne concentration”.

“Concentrations involved within the incident from a public perspective would have been no greater than those from a sewer treatment plant or stagnant swamp which is the characteristic smell of these by-products,” the statement said.

“Hazmat and the fire brigade undertook gas analysis on the site for both hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide and on both occasions were unable to detect any limits harmful to human health.”

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School principal Gerard Davies said the school would write to member for Bathurst Paul Toole and Blayney Shire Council about the school’s concerns after he gathers all the information about the incident.

“I want to investigate what council’s duty of care is to us by giving a business like that a DA [development application to operate] particularly when we’re within their exclusion zone and they can’t give us a guarantee something won’t happen again,” he said.

ETS said staff, contractors and a policewoman were taken to hospital “as a precautionary measure only” and the “persons directly involved” were released within a few hours. 

Blayney Shire Council general manager Glenn Wilcox said ETS had submitted a report to  council about the incident but he was unaware of its contents.

“[Council] doesn’t have any responsibility at all apart from [approving] the original DA (development application),” he said.

The community briefing will be held at CentrePoint in Blayney at 6:30pm on Wednesday.

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