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Remediating the environmental errors of Mac Point's past

The former railyards and gasworks at Macquarie Point. c. 1950

Investigative work will soon begin to eliminate the risk of historical coal tar deposits under the former gasworks at Macquarie Point.

Since the site’s colonial and industrial establishment in the 1850s, Mac Point has been home to army drill halls, an abattoir, a general waste dump and then gas works before finally housing Hobart’s rail yards.

While Macquarie Points rich industrial history helped establish Hobart as a leading Australian city in the nineteenth century, once the buildings and services were no longer needed, they were simply knocked over and buried under dirt and concrete with no consideration for any environmental impacts for future generations.

A feature in the Tasmanian Mail in 1932 explaining the operations of Hobart's gas works.

The upcoming works will look at the severity the coal tar under former Cold Store, before we begin the remediation process to eliminate the risk to both future development on the site and the environment.

From early August, AECOM will begin drilling boreholes and excavating trenches around the former Cold Store at Evans Street.

This work will confirm the extent of the contamination under the site and whether any remaining gas works infrastructure is sitting underground.

As experienced from previous remediations, the contaminated soil could release unpleasant smells.

The Corporation is busily preparing for this and accessing the Edible Precinct on the corner or Davey and Evans streets will be a little different, with entry to the precinct further down Evans Street.

It’s expected the remediation process to follow will involve the use of In Situ Solidification, or put simply, injecting cement and other materials into the soil to bind the contaminated coal tar.

Once bound, the coal tar will not be able to impact on any groundwater or future developments at the site.

It’s important to know this inconvenience is only temporary and we expect to have the first works completed by early September.

We’re working closely with our neighbours to ensure the impact during the works is minimal. Rest assured though; this will be worthwhile.

We know if we want to develop a site that we can all be proud of, we need to do it right.

Once complete, this future space will form part of The District, 2.7 hectares of prime real estate and public open space on the city’s waterfront, a short walk from our CBD.

The District will unlock a place where Tasmanians and visitors alike would be proud to spend time with family and friends, and a place for many to go to work every day.

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