The ACT government will launch an investigation into whether land has been contaminated from an underground fuel tank which may have been leaking for more than a year.

The investigation will focus on an underground diesel tank at the Hume depot for waste-collection company Suez.

While Suez stopped using the tank for fueling purposes in late 2019, the company identified in October that year that the tank may have been leaking fuel into the surrounding area following routine monitoring of underground fuel.

The potential leak was then reported to the ACT Environment Protection Authority.

The underground tank had stopped being used due to an above-ground fuel system being used instead to service operations for Suez.

At the time of the discovery of the potential leak, fuel that was remaining in the tank was removed.

While the exact size of the tank is unknown, data based on existing site plans suggested as much as 35,000 litres of fuel could be held in the tank.

An ACT government spokesman said a formal investigation into whether a fuel leak had taken place, and how far a potential leak may have spread, would commence in the coming weeks.

“Investigations into the potential leak will be carried out in early 2021, prior to deciding the requirement to remove the underground fuel tank,” the government spokesman said.

“The investigative work is expected to be completed by mid-2021.

“The investigative work will identify the size and the extent of the associated infrastructure.”

The investigation into the leak coincides with the release of a government tender for the removal of the underground tank from the Hume facility entirely, as well as any other associated underground petrol storage systems.

The government tender is slated to close to submissions on February 11, with a final decision on who to remove the tank and other related systems expected to be made later that month.

Investigations into the potential leak will be carried out in early 2021.ACT government spokesman

It’s estimated initial work, which would include site analysis and assessment, would be completed by June this year.

The territory government spokesman said work at the Suez facility would continue as normal while investigations were carried out.

“There has been no impact on Suez operations,” the spokesman said.

“Suez ceased using the underground storage tank in late 2019 and is using an above-ground fuel system to service their ongoing operations.”

Tender documents have also revealed issues have been found with truck washing services on site and fuel dispensing measures.

“The truck wash discharge pre-treatment is not compliant as the area is not adequately bunded, areas with an above-ground tank and he fuel dispensing area cannot be discharged to sewer, as per the current arrangements,” the documents said.

“On-site fuel dispensing requires compliance to several Australian standards, environmental safety and workplace-safety regulations. When the system was installed it was compliant, however, as requirements have changed, the site has not been updated to meet new regulations.”

The site of the potentially leaking fuel tank in Hume. Picture: Supplied

 The site of the potentially leaking fuel tank in Hume. Picture: Supplied

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