Contamination Threatens Rail Trail

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A Lismore City councillor says contamination along the Casino-to-Murwillumbah rail corridor could threaten plans for a rail trail.

Neil Marks told this week’s meeting that arsenic had been used to control termites on the track for more than 100 years.

He said the contractors who pulled down two bridges on the line earlier this year were told the timber was highly contaminated.

Testing was done to examine whether material salvaged from the disused railway corridor could be useful for other things such as making furniture.

It found that a person would have to be fully suited to be protected from the toxic chemicals that had been used on the materials in the track.

‘There’s no secret in the fact that over the years they’ve used arsenic to kill weeds and termites in the timbers, and that has been pumped all the way along track for 100 years,’ Cr Marks said.

‘If we proceed with a rail trail there would need to be an environmental plan to deal with that.There was testing done on the material from the Woodlawn overpass when it was removed and the result was that those timbers would need to be handled with extreme care.”

Cr Marks also said the brakes on trains were made from asbestos so every time a driver put on the brakes, traces of asbestos would be released along the track.

‘Who knows what else has been done along those tracks,’ he said.

Source: ABC News

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