Friday, March 06, 2015

My Hypothesis on what is destroying the lives of the 'Elsaya Georgesi' Turtle

IMG 1976 Gleniffer Magic
Clean water is a must for native wildlife
Elsaya Georgesi or the Georges Turtle is still turning up dead in the Bellinger River on the Mid North Coast Hinterland.  This is a very serious situation for the river, the turtles and the people along the river who depend on the river for water for numerous reasons.

The authorities are all there in force. The NPWS is working closely with Bellingen Shire Council, Taronga Zoo, Department of Primary Industries, Wildlife Health Australia (WHA), the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and WIRES as well as the local community from Bellingen who are helping where possible.

Boats are being launched from Lavender's Bridge to head up river taking samples and collecting sad and or dead turtles along the length of the Bellinger River. 

The NPWS have sent samples for testing and Dolphin Marine Magic are care-taking some of the turtles and have also sent samples for testing.  This is good to at least have two testing platforms with which to compare results.

I woke up yesterday morning with a vision of the turtles and in this vision I could see gravel trucks and rocks and a quarry.  I thought I was seeing the quarry up behind Dorrigo.  I needed only one lead to bring my vision into full clarity. 

The road work on Waterfall Way just past the Nut Farm which has been wanting since the floods of 2009 was commenced on 17th May 2013 and finally completed last year in February 2014 by RMS with funding from the $4 million allocated by the O'Farrell-Stoner Government.

Quarry site from the air at Valla.
The rocks used for this large construction to fill in the wash out land slip and various other road works along waterfall way to bring it into line with RMS Guidelines for better roads were brought in from a quarry at Valla NSW which is southeast of Bellingen.  The quarry where these rocks were quarried from was a Gold Mine before it was a quarry.  A Gold Mine!

I think the incidence of toxicity could come from those rocks and the cyanide and or arsenic toxicity that the local Valla residents are continually speaking up about and who are conveniently not being heard?  Gold mines are not nice places.  The mine sites are toxic time bombs waiting to explode. 

The rocks when first transported from the quarry to the job site were being washed on site.  This process was suspended allegedly due to the mess it was making.  The mess it was making was running into the Bellinger River.  The Bellinger River is adjacent to this RMS Job Site.   The rocks were put in place and the job was completed. 

This area experiences an above average rainfall and lately we have had above average plus rainfall, therefore those rocks are continually being cleaned by the action of rain.   Rain would then wash the run off into the river and in the river is where the turtles live.  The turtles do not like the contamination of heavy metals which are the results of gold mining, metals such a mercury, antimony and the use of Cyanide to process the gold.   All of this could have been transported from the quarry site to the RMS Job Site on Waterfall way, and done so knowingly as well.  It cannot be said it is not  known as many have complained about the quarry for years because of the damage it continually causes in the local Valla area.
"We would like to look at levels of arsenic in the environment from the dust that is coming off the quarry."  Valla Resident 
This quarry is now no longer locally owned and operated.  It is a Queensland company and its name is South East Queensland Excavation Quarry Solutions, and the locals in that are are up in arms about the fact of the doubling of the quota of rock allowable out of the quarry.  This was supposed to be scaled back.  It appears no one is listening to the residents of the quarry area either who are continually smothered with dust full of arsenic. READ MORE HERE on the Valla issue.

Gold and what is left behind these days is a time bomb if they continue to mine this substance and dig up the earth for so little return and such a great damage bill to the environment.  Gold is a costly substance in so many ways. 
 The majority of gold ores are classified refractory because the gold mineralogy is contained in sulphides. This type of gold is typically very fine gold or locked in solid solution within sulphide minerals pyrite and arsenopyrite (FeAsS).

The arsenic bearing pyrite is commonly known as arsenian pyrite and can contain gold in its structure. Rimming of pyrite with arsenic-rich assemblages is often common as well as arsenopyrite-marcasite-pyrite associations.

The gold-pyrite association is dependent on ore grade and textural features of the ore. When present with pyrite, arsenopyrite commonly will have significantly higher gold grades than the pyrite associations.

Enargite (and Luzonite) is a common copper-arsenic mineral that can be a significant gold carrier.

Other less common are chalcopyrite and other sulphides and sulphosalts such as pyrrhotite, covellite, arsenides, and antimonite.   Pdf

IMG 1976 Gleniffer Magic
The waters that flow into the Bellinger
News Links :
RMS : Roads and Maritime Services
DMM : Dolphin Marine Magic
NPWS: National Parks and Wildlife Service

BLOGS:  Bellinger River Turtles
Updates: Courier Sun

Images @ Eminpee Fotography


Anonymous said...

Have you passed this theory on to the incident team, now downgraded as they believe the peak is over. It does seen the obvious link that the roadworks aligned with the turtle deaths but the incident team say they have tested for contaminants and nothing turned up. The affected area also spreads a very long way upstream of the roadworks. Small numbers of turtles still being found today.
Only commented as anonymous because no other id seemed to fit.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that the damage to the turtles was done before the major rain event in February? This event would have diluted the level of contaminants in the river possibly to levels that would not have shown up in testing. It's a pity that the testing happened after the rains, not before.

Anonymous said...

Hello thanx heaps for shedding light on a sad story. often it seems difficult to 'join dots' but clearly all our environments are suffering 'death by a thousand cuts' still we must bear witness & do what we can .. really our only choice ..
I too sign as 'Anonymous' but im not the other commenters above. Thanx again.

MEP said...

Thank you for reading.

MEP said...

I agree, this would not have helped the true picture to be shown definitely.

MEP said...

Yes, I spoke to the EPA on the phone. I thought I also wrote that other road works were carried out further up the valley as well. The same gravel used in these instances (all from Valla Quarry) - They DID NOT TEST for those things I have mentioned above. They have tested a range of things but not those, the EPA told me on the phone there was no reason to test for those contaminants. I have to say I tried and I also rang the newspaper and spoke to Dom King personally about my hypothesis. I did all of this hoping that at least one of these people may see this link as not bizarre. ARSENIC MINE before it was a quarry... It does not take a science degree to tell me that is crazy stuff. If you able to keep an eye on this in future would be good. I recently moved from the area up to the New England.. although it will always be home and my daughter is still there working at the Golf Club. I do not think for one minute that we are out of the water with this as we are STILL USING gravel in the shire from that same quarry, well we were when I left the area. Thank you for commenting.

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