CAMPBELLTOWN Council is pursuing an extra $72,000 in compensation from oil giant Caltex in a bitter legal dispute over concerns with contaminated soil at The ARC which has dragged on for years.

The council is taking legal action against the Lower North East Rd Woolworths Caltex, across the road from the new leisure centre, to force it to pay $150,000 for a membrane around the ARC pool to prevent pollution from potential petrol leaks.

It has also called for the company to pay $80,000 in reimbursement for removal of pollution by contaminated soil at the centre through an underground petrol leak.

A Caltex spokeswoman told NorthEastern Weekly the company had tried to negotiate an early settlement but its offer was rejected.

The council is now seeking another $72,000 from the oil company following further environmental investigations by a contractor.

That development was announced during a hearing in the Environment, Resources and Development Court last Tuesday.

The council was unable to say if additional issues had been detected at the site.

COUNCIL chief executive officer Paul Di Iulio told NorthEastern Weekly it will now seek a total of $390,000 from Woolworths-Caltex.

Setting the next directions hearing for May 29, Justice Jack Costello said in the ERD last Tuesday he was frustrated with the lack of progress in the case.

“This matter has been outstanding for a long time,” he said, unable to hide his frustration with legal representatives from both parties.

“Both parties wanted a speedy result.

“All I’ve experienced is a reverse.”

Mr Di Iulio refused to say how much money had been spent pursuing the matter but expected a trial date to be set on May 29.

A Caltex spokeswoman said it was still seeking to settle out of court.

“From the outset Caltex was transparent in its dealings with council and the EPA and tried to negotiate an early settlement with the City of Campbelltown,” she said.

“Unfortunately, a court-ordered conciliation has also failed. An out-of-court settlement remains Caltex’s preferred outcome.”

A Caltex spokesman said in May 2016, the petrol chain had admitted some traces of old fuel was found in the groundwater beneath the leisure centre and was happy to pay for “reasonable costs”.

But he said a membrane was not needed.

“Caltex has already funded extensive monitoring and assessment works … over a long period,” he said.

“There is no risk to groundwater entering the pool … unless the council’s construction is of such an inferior quality as to not meet relevant design and durability standards.”

Extracted from Adelaide Now.

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