Generally I’ve avoided the toxicity issue with the plan to scuttle exHMAS Adelaide off Avoca beach. Now when I read the the material on the No Ship at Avoca website the magnitude of this problem looms. I thought there was little chance of toxicity but now I realise that it could merely be a matter of out of site out of mind. Fortunately the No Ship at Avoca group have begun to shed a little light the issue of toxicity. Their website contains the following alarming material
PCB management, removal, disposal and certification in Australia is all described in the Polychlorinated Biphenyls Management Plan – Revised Edition April 2003 and this describes thresholds for certain categories and the obligations for disposal. . . ., basically, unless there is official clearance certificates declaring the ship as being PCB-free, then it must be considered as potentially containing more than 10 kg of concentrated PCB’s and must be treated accordingly. Anyone who disposes of an asset that may contain this level of PCBs by contravening the management plan is breaking the law.
Whilst many of the components that may contain PCBs can be removed by de-commissioning, it is difficult to imagine that PCBs placed between bulkheads and within the superstructure could be removed without destroying the integrity of the ship. This must be investigated and a clearance issued before such an asset can be permanently placed within a corrosive environment such as an undersea location.
Well, is there a clearance certificate, and what about the PCBs between the bulkheads?