HEAVY rain has forced the NSW Environment Protection Authority to twice in four days pump out storage tanks at Rutherford's abandoned Truegain waste-oil refinery to ensure toxic chemicals do not further pollute nearby properties and waterways.
The heavily contaminated refinery is renowned for flooding and this week large sections of the plant were underwater.
On Saturday and Wednesday the EPA was forced to bring in a contractor to pump out huge volumes of water contained in an underground storage tank and bunded areas.
A spokeswoman for the EPA said the regulator was closely monitoring the industrial site and rainfall levels.
She said there had been no discharge of wastewater in the recent heavy rain.
"The EPA has been on site since Saturday and again on Monday and is continuing to remove wastewater from the underground tank," she said.
"This will ensure the underground tank which receives any overflow from the bunded areas is empty ahead of any future rainfall."
The Newcastle Herald reported in June that the EPA was investigating prosecuting the owner of the site that was left to rot after being ground zero for years worth of toxic waste being dumped on the ground and in waterways.
NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean visited the Truegain site for the first time in June and urged the regulator to "throw the book" at the owner.
The minister's visit comes amid an ongoing investigation by the Newcastle Herald into the years of contamination in which millions of litres of toxic material was pumped into the environment by Truegain, also known as Australian Waste Oil Refineries.
Heavy metals, hydrocarbons and PFAS - the substance at the centre of the Williamtown Red Zone scandal - have been found in large volumes at the plant and in the environment near the former Truegain plant.
PFAS has been found at levels as high as 22 times the recommended drinking water guideline in Stony Creek, a waterway that flows into the Hunter River.
Maitland MP Jenny Aitchison said she was "appalled" that years after the facility was closed the site was still "completely unsafe".
"The NSW government has completely failed to ensure the safety of our community, our farmers and our environment," she said.
"The current minister has visited the site and made lots of promises but after the weekend's east coast low we are still waiting for any action to protect our community."
Community members and Ms Aitchison have been calling on Mr Kean to act immediately to ensure the site is remediated.
"I met the minister on Wednesday and he informed me that the additional waste was being trucked out," Ms Aitchison said.
"This is a completely unacceptable response. We need a long-term safe solution."
Nearby workers told the Newcastle Herald this week that the refinery always floods during heavy rain and drains to Stony Creek.
There is still two million litres of PFAS-contaminated water stored in ageing tanks at the plant.
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