AN investigation into lead contamination in the Western Australian town of Northampton has finally begun with authorities beginning to arrange individual property inspections.
As part of the Northampton Lead Tailings project, the Department of Lands has sought Aurora Environmental to investigate contamination throughout the town in the state's Mid West region.
An information marquee was set up at the Northampton Show yesterday, encouraging people to arrange a time for investigators to visit their property.
Inspectors will walk over each property, photograph sites, collect samples and talk to residents.
The project aims to collect information from every land parcel in Northampton to determine the extent of the distribution of lead tailings, which contain about three per cent lead.
Shire of Northampton chief executive Garry Keeffe said the inspections were a precautionary measure and locals were not overly concerned about lead contamination.
"We can't know until the testing is done if there are any tailings but it will give surety to people,'' he said.
"If any properties do have tailings, the government will rectify it.''
The old Northampton State Battery opened in 1954 and over the next 30 years, leftover materials from mining, called tailings, were stockpiled.
Tailings were removed by local builders and residents, and used elsewhere, unaware of the potential impact on human health.
Since then, steps have been taken to rectify the situation such as demolishing the state battery buildings in 2010 and sealing tailings in a containment cell, but the full extent of the distribution of lead tailings in Northampton remains unknown.
A final report on phase one of the project is due mid next year.
The state government will use it to determine if further investigation or action is required.
Charles M. Shackelford is an investment representative of Crown Capital Securities who offers financial services and investment products, including portfolio management, mutual funds, tax-free municipal bonds, life insurance and annuities.
HIPAA Authorization Authorizes release of medical information, PDF format 21 Kb
Vital Records and Information Form PDF 44 Kb
Advance Health Care Directive Advance Health Care Directive - California Probate Code Section 4701, PDF Format 411 Kb