Tonnes of toxic waste from the BHP steelworks that was used to stabilise the area around Stockton's War Memorial is at risk of being exposed by relentless erosion.
The suburb's latest pollution threat can be clearly seen embedded in the sand cliff about 50 metres behind the Mitchell Street memorial.
The material, including slag and rubble, was sourced from the BHP following severe erosion in the late 1940s.
It is likely the material contains hazardous substances which could pose a threat to human health and the environment.
Typical industrial slag waste contains carcinogenic polycyclic hydrocarbons, arsenic and lead.
A small piece of asbestos sheeting was also observed among the exposed rubble near The Pines this week.
A Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners Advocate report from Monday June 21 1948 said 800 tonnes of slag was dumped along Mitchell Street and a line of tank traps on the previous weekend.
"The slag was dumped on the shore as an emergency measure after waves washed out the foreshore to within a few feet of Mitchell Street and threatened to undermine the roadway during gales last week," the report said.
An Environment Protection Authority spokesman said the authority was aware of the toxic waste and would work with the council to investigate the material.
"The EPA will assess what action is required as a result of the investigation and treats with the utmost seriousness any scenario that might cause harm to humans or the environment," the spokesman said.
City of Newcastle spokesman said the council was aware that various materials have been dumped across some areas of the foreshore in the past.
"City of Newcastle undertakes routine inspections to identify if any of this material has been exposed when we undertake works, or when erosion takes place," he said.
The fears about toxic waste along Mitchell Street follow the unearthing of the former Stockton tip January 2018.
More than 8000 tonnes of waste from the site, that operated as a council landfill between 1964 and 1971 near Corroba Oval was transferred to the Summerhill Waste Disposal Centre after the material was found to contain friable asbestos.
While the majority of the exposed section of the former tip is on land owned by Hunter Water, large swells last year exposed a second area that is the responsibility of NSW Crown Lands.
Hunter Water is building a 100-metre sand container sea wall to protect the site from further erosion.
- The EPA advises anyone with information regarding potentially hazardous materials at Stockton Beach, to contact the Environment Line on 131 555.
Deeper reading: Save Stockton Beach
- Former Stockton childcare centre demolished as part of works to secure foreshore
- Deputy Premier John Barilaro confirms all options are on the table for Stockton Beach
- Minister pledges to fast track City of Newcastle funding applications for Stockton
- Stockton residents unite in fight of their lives to revive the beach
- Shifting sands from offshore could save Stockton beach for as little as $5 million
- Our beach is broken and so are our hearts
- Watch the video: Relentless erosion closes Stockton beach
- Erosion wipes out Stockton's only childcare centre
- Community meeting told Stockton beach losing a metre a year
- Mission Australia's storm damaged Stockton early learning centre
- Childcare centre's future under cloud in erosion saga
- Childcare centre forced to close temporarily due to beach erosion threat
- Council back to drawing board over long-term solution for Stockton erosion
- Playground of Stockton's Mission Australia early learning centre set to be relocated as a result of erosion threat
- Fears childcare centre could crumble into the sea
- Stockton solution moves forward with meeting
- Garbage tip washing into the sea at Stockton
- State government handballs responsibility for Stockton beach
- 2017: Exposed mine shaft shows Stockton beach's erosion problem needs 'urgent' solution
- 2016: Newcastle lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes suggests 'underground breakwall'
- 2016: Worst erosion in memory leaves Stockton beach exposed to next storm
- 2014: Dangerous erosion on Stockton Beach
- 2013: Stockton beach erosion | photos, video
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