Environmental investigation at historical Waratah gasworks


Detailed Site Investigation

The second stage of detailed site investigation works, which began in early 2017, are nearing completion. 

This has involved groundwater, soil and vapour sampling to better understand the nature and extent of contamination that is present, and what mitigation measures, if any, may be required to address potential health risks.
The test results are now being analysed, as part of preparing the Detailed Site Investigation Report, which is expected to be completed in mid-2017.

There may be a requirement to undertake further sampling at key locations. This will be determined by the outcomes of the test results analysis process.


Newcastle City Council has engaged an independent environmental consultant to investigate an area in Waratah where a small gasworks operated in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

In June 2016, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) advised that a gasworks may have operated on land bounded by High Street, Turton Road and Georgetown Road in Waratah. A review of historical sources confirmed that Waratah Municipal Council operated a gasworks in Waratah from 1889 to 1922.

The Waratah Municipal Council merged with numerous other council areas to constitute the Council of Greater Newcastle in 1938.   
Former gasworks sites may be contaminated by residual waste materials buried at the site during operation or decommissioning.

Newcastle City Council is working closely with NSW Health and EPA officials to investigate the area associated with the former gasworks and ensure that any health and environmental concerns are addressed.
As part of the initial site investigations in September 2016, more than 200 shallow soil samples were collected from the investigation area and analysed. The results of this sampling have been provided to Newcastle City Council in an initial Environmental Investigation Report. 

The initial investigation found the presence of some former gasworks related substances in shallow soil samples collected from the investigation area. Following consultation with NSW Health and NSW EPA, Newcastle City Council  have issued precautionary advice to occupiers of residential premises within the area and the adjacent  Family Support Centre and Callaghan College - Waratah Technology Campus to minimise exposure.
Further detailed site investigations are proposed to be undertaken across the former gasworks site and surrounding area to enable a better understanding of the nature and extent of the identified gasworks related substances and what mitigation measures, if any, may be required.

 Download a fact sheet with more information (pdf)
 Download a list of frequently asked question (pdf)

More information is available on gasworks contamination on the NSW EPA website

Newcastle City Council is committed to keeping the community informed as the investigation progresses. Council will use a range of communication channels to provide updates on the investigation, including direct engagement, emails, information updates, flyers, and further community information sessions.  

Council held community information sessions for local residents in August 2016   Download a flyer about the info sessions (pdf)