Oil oozing from beneath Cairns Botanic Gardens

MEDIA RELEASE

Published: 18 December 2019. (Note: information was correct at date of publication but may have since been changed or superseded.)

Oil believed to be from a pipeline associated with historical World War II infrastructure is oozing to the surface at the Cairns Botanic Gardens.

At about 7.30 this morning, Council officers noticed what appeared to be oil oozing out of the ground near the Tanks Art Centre.

“A crew was on site about 10 minutes later to contain and clean up the spill,” a Council spokesperson said.

The oil seepage comes a year after a similar incident at the same location.

Council investigations at the time were not able to able to conclusively establish what had caused the seepage, although hot weather is thought to be a contributing factor.

“We suspect the oil seepage is linked to the 75-year-old tanks and infrastructure that make up the Tanks Arts Centre,” the spokesperson said.

“We know that the tanks were originally used to store oil during World War II and there are still some pipes under the ground.

“An investigation was taken last year to identify the source, but that was not entirely successful, although hot weather is thought to have contributed.”

The council has notified the Department of Environment and Science about the leak and is investigating.

“All precautions are being taken to contain the spill,” the spokesperson said.

“Access to the Red Arrow and Tanks Arts Centre has not been impacted, but we have to block off a few car parks in Collins Avenue.”

Council’s response team was able to contain the oil before any escaped from the site.

A plastic wrapped, sandbag bund wall has been established on the footpath, in front of where the oil is leaking.

Floor spill absorbent has been placed over the leaking oil and the site has been completely fenced off.

Oil is continuing to seep at a slow rate and Council officers are monitoring the situation.

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Last updated: 18 June 2020