The highly-contaminated Truegain oil refinery site at Rutherford is set to be demolished and remediated, after the State Government acquired the site.
It’s estimated, the cleanup costs will total $20 million.
The project will happen in two stages, with waste removal and the demolition of structures to happen first, before soil and groundwater remediation.
Works are expected to begin soon.
Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison says the community is welcoming the news.
“After five Environment Ministers under this Government, we’ve finally got a situation where the polluter is not in control of the site and the Government has made a commitment that they will remediate it,” she said.
“The sad thing about this is that it took so long for the Government to take action on the site – and we’re talking decades – it’s meant that the cost of the cleanup will be massive.”
Truegain Director Robert Pullinger was convicted and fined, ordered to pay $1.2 million to help cover the cost of the cleanup, but declared bankruptcy in October last year.
It’s not clear how much the Government paid for the site, or if some or all of the cost will be covered by the company’s outstanding financial obligations.
Criminal proceedings around Mr Pullinger’s failure to comply with a cleanup notice and a prohibition notice issued by the Environment Minister are still before the Land and Environment Court.