REPEAT oil spills at the site of a controversial bus layover in Newcastle's east end have an unknown source, according to tests by Keolis Downer.
Tests of oil spilt on Church Street, which residents complained had come from the company's buses, have found it was a common car oil, emails to Newcastle City Traffic Committee show.
A main complaint was oil spills on the road. One resident noted 10 spills, including the date of each, in an email to Keolis Downer.
"Another oil spill this afternoon," the resident said. "As stated numerous times before, this road is completely unsuitable as a bus layover. The buses pull into the kerb at an angle - please don't tell me again that you have checked your buses and they are complying - the facts are that these oil/diesel spills continue to occur with stupefying regularity."
Keolis Downer sent a response team to clean up the spills multiple times, but the incidents continued.
"Your incident response team has been to try to clean up the mess - but it's clear that no matter how many times you try to wash it away, unless you relocate this layover, you will continue to have oil spills and they will continue to end up in the gutter," the same resident said.
Frustrated by the frequency of the incidents, Keolis Downer began collecting oil samples for testing.
"No where at any other layover have we experienced oil spills from buses," Keolis Downer Hunter (KDH) general manager Mark Dunlop said in an email. "As such we have been collecting oil samples from the spills and have had testing undertaken by Valvoline Australia."
An extract from Valvoline's report provided in the email says the "oil samples appear to be a passenger engine oil, most likely a petrol engine oil" and do "not correspond to the Valvoline diesel engine oil [in KDH buses]".
Keolis Downer told the Herald this week"each spill was promptly cleaned and buses using the layover were checked for possible leaks".
"Workshop checks found no evidence of leaks. Laboratory testing of oil from the spill sites determined it was not an oil used in Newcastle Transport buses," a Keolis Downer spokesperson said.
Newcastle council, police and the state MP sit on the traffic committee. No party, including Keolis Downer, was willing to speculate on the source of the spills.
"Any person or company polluting our environment with oil should be dealt with accordingly - this behaviour is unacceptable," Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp said.
"The relocation of bus layovers in the Newcastle CBD has been a debacle from day one."