Page 3531 - Week 11 - Thursday, 15 November 2007

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(2) If not, will the Government prepare an action plan once the Commonwealth national analysis has been completed.

Ms Gallagher: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) The Chief Minister has directed that an Inter Departmental Committee be established with representation from ACT Government agencies and the Commissioner for Disability and Community Services, to ensure close cooperation across agencies in considering the ratification process and its implications, and to provide me with advice on implementation.

(2) The Government will determine the form of its response upon receipt of this advice.

Environment—hydrogen sulphide emissions
(Question No 1735)

Dr Foskey asked the Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, upon notice, on 17 October 2007 (redirected to the Acting Treasurer):

(1) Has a recent assessment been completed on the hydrogen sulphide emissions into the air along the Cotter Road;

(2) Is there an approved level that hydrogen sulphide emissions must fall below in the ACT and does the current level of emissions meet this guideline;

(3) Does the design of the sewerage pipelines in the affected area meet ACTEW's technical regulations; if so, are ACTEW's technical regulations correct;

(4) Why haven't mitigating actions to reduce the odour been undertaken by either the ACT Government or ACTEW.

Ms Gallagher: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) A study of sewer odours in the Weston Creek / Molonglo Valley area was undertaken in 2006 as part of the investigations into the future development of the Molonglo Valley. While hydrogen sulphide is generally the major contributor to sewer odours, there are other gases that also contribute. Hence the study was not limited to just hydrogen sulphide, but to the broader issue of sewer odours.

As part of the study, a survey was undertaken of local businesses and residents in Weston Creek, which indicated that odours are a potential issue in the area. Most of the odours in this area emanate from a number of sewer vents to the north of Cotter Road. Approximately two thirds of Canberra’s sewage passes through this location in a number of major sewers. Ventilation of these sewers is essential to protect the integrity of the sewerage system.

It is probable that the odours are more prevalent in Weston Creek since the 2003 fires because of the loss of much of the pine planting between Cotter Road and the suburbs. These pines provided a degree of air dispersion, which would have reduced the transmission of the odours into adjoining areas.

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