PLANS to help deal with sand containing 46 times the acceptable level of arsenic in Clay Gully have been lodged with the City of Greater Bendigo.
The sand "far exceeds" acceptable levels, "resulting in risks to human and environmental health," according to the application by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
The agency wants to fence off the area on Sparrowhawk Road in Maiden Gully and apply polymer spray over any areas where the sand is exposed.
Mining company Spargos Pyrites Gold Works spent 80 years treating mine tailings at the site, roasting - or calcining - it to extract gold.
This process released gold but also concentrated arsenic-containing minerals.
Miners stopped calcining mine tailings at the site in the 1950.
It holds 40,000 cubic metres of purple coloured calcine sand.
DELWP's plans come in response to a pollution abatement notice issued by the Environmental Protection Agency to block public access and prevent sand "mobilisation by wind or water."
The Maiden Gully site is one of three that the EPA ordered clean-up notices for last year.
It said they posed little risk to public or environmental health due to lack of access to the sands, and because they were predominantly covered in soil, vegetation or mulch.
The regulator still required access to be better managed at the sites, which also included a site at Marong Road in Maiden Gully and in the California Bushland Reserve, it said at the time.
Story continues below map showing the sites the environmental watchdog ordered clean-ups at in 2018 (markers do not nessecarily show exact locations)
The proposed Sparrowhawk Road works are a temporary measure as DELWP considers a long-term solution to managing the contaminated land, the planning application states.
Under the plan, about 56 cubic metres of of clay will be brought in to repair a breached levee bank at the site.
That will prevent runoff from a terrace containing a majority of the sand, the department said.
Minor earthworks will flatten ditches and dirt bike jumps where necessary to install the fencing.
Some native vegetation will also be removed.
The polymer the department plans to use is non-toxic and, when applied, dark green, program manager of land and built environment Calum Walker said.
"DELWP takes its role as manager of crown land seriously and is working with the EPA to ensure its requirements are met, and most importantly that the community and the environment is protected from any possible risk of contaminated land," he said.
DELWP must complete the works by 30 November 2019, according to the EPA's pollution abatement notice.
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