Environmental officers from the Department of Mines are due to visit Esperance as early as May to investigate reports of illegal rubbish dumping at Pink Lake.
Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s Resource and Environmental Compliance acting executive director Karen Caple said officers would be taking photos and collecting information on the dumping at the previous Pink Lake salt mine.
“The officers will try to find out if the rubbish is associated with salt mining operations by WASS Nominees Pty Ltd or is illegal dumping by a third party,” she said.
The Department said they had contacted WASS’ and determined the dumped tarpaulins were not part of the company’s mining operations but did not have any further information about who may be responsible.
The investigation comes after the passionate members of the Pink Lake Recovery Project vowed to undertake a recovery effort and restore the lake to its former glory.
Project founder Chris Pope said it was great to see the Department of Mines actively playing a part in overseeing what was going on between the WASS site and Pink Lake.
“It [the dumping] is third party illegal dumping and it is happening in an area that is supposed to be under Care and Maintenance, time and time again,” he said.
“The sealed roads are hidden from the main road and provide an avenue to duck into these corners and dump rubbish.
“Hopefully this investigation irons out some of the things in the company’s exit strategy and will show that these side roads are no longer necessary.”
Working alongside employees of South Coast NRM, Mr Pope said masses of rubber lining, black plastic and hessian fabric had been uncovered at the site amongst blue plastic.
Despite volunteers having filled several trailers worth of rubbish from the site, Mr Pope said the group had managed to take care of just 20 per cent of it.
“The Shire were really prompt in helping us to dispose of the rubbish, which was good because that was a bit of a worry for me,” he said.
“It’s a large task and it kind of needs a government body to help out; it will be an extensive and expensive task to undertake.
“As we enter the wetter months, it’s difficult to get out there again until Spring.”
Despite the obstacles, Mr Pope said it had been really encouraging to see people were so passionate about the maintenance of the entire area.
“I get photos sent to me from people saying they believe they can see hints of pink in the Lake again,” he said.
“They’re as optimistic as I am and you can really feel the emotion behind their words.
“Even during the clean up, right alongside one of the banks there was a puddle and it was pink.
“When you think of the hectares of area and everything to come, sometimes all it takes is a puddle to get it started.
“Seeing that made it completely worthwhile.”
The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation have advised that any suspected illegal rubbish dumping should be reported on 1300 784 782.