Assessment and Remediation of a Former Explosives Manufacturing Site in Australia

Project Info


Melbourne, Australia


In a rapidly growing city, such as Melbourne, in-fill development of former industrial sites offers economic benefits to site owners and to local communities by enabling new uses. However, many of these sites are contaminated and require remediation.

The 140-hectare Deer Park site, close to Melbourne’s CBD and major transport links, was used for more than century to manufacture and store chemicals and explosives. Orica’s vision for the future of the site moved closer to realisation with Brimbank City Council approval of a planning amendment to rezone 72 hectares (approximately half of the site) from industrial to commercial in February 2014.

Golder has been supporting the client, Orica, with remediation of the Deer Park site since 2008, including site investigations for environmental audit, developing remediation plans, sampling and treating soil and groundwater, and maintaining a centralised information system for site data.

We have applied our problem-solving abilities and innovation to solve some major challenges in the assessment and remediation of this complex site. A particular challenge has been understanding the groundwater conceptual model and the fate and transport of several groundwater contamination plumes. Another challenge has been managing the operational risks and applying the necessary safety measures to assess areas where nitroglycerine was historically manufactured as it can retain its potential to detonate.

In this project, we’ve put automation to great effect by combining field tablets with mobile GPS technology and using our GIS expertise and solutions to accurately map the location of site-centric assets (such as samples, features, services and excavations). This has allowed us to record and manage all the associated field data with a high level of efficiency and accuracy.

Golder’s groundwater and soil studies provided vital information for the environmental audit of the site. Our innovative use of emerging digital technologies has made our processes more efficient, ensured greater data integrity and provided better visibility of and access to the data. This has alleviated risk and has expedited the auditing process, helping the client move towards its ultimate goal of remediating the site to enable new commercial uses and investment for the benefit of the community and the economy.

Golder continues to support Orica with assessment and remediation of this site to date, with completion estimated for 2022.



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