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Environment authority continues to monitor Christmas Cove fuel leak

The SA Environmental Protection Authority continues to monitor the site of a mystery fuel leak at Christmas Cove marina at Penneshaw.

After the Islander reported last week that the EPA said the mystery leak of petroleum had ceased, adjacent property owner Susan Craig contacted us to say she spotted fuel seeping out during a visit in November.

An EPA spokesperson said the authority would follow up the new report of a leak at Christmas Cove with the Kangaroo Island Council.

The results of soil testing of material excavated from the petrol station at Penneshaw were provided to the EPA, and showed no detection of petroleum hydrocarbons.

The EPA has not sampled the water of the marine environment at locations around Christmas Cove and is not aware of anyone else sampling in this area, nor is it aware of any reports of such impacts to these waters, the spokesperson said.

The EPA is not aware of any other fuel tanks associated with bus depots or any other business in the vicinity of the marina.

Susan Craig's previous video of the mystery leak

She acknowledged the leak had slowed for several months but had resumed in the past couple of weeks.

She has followed the issue closely has her late husband was one of the people instrumental in developing the marina and she has plans with her partner Mark Simpkin to build tourist accommodation at Christmas Cove.

The SA Environmental Protection Authority in September said fuel no longer appeared to be leaking into Christmas Cove.

The source of diesel and petrol fuels leaking out of the stone wall at Penneshaw remains a mystery.

An EPA spokesperson in September said visual inspections of the site over the past six months found the leak was no longer observed.

The EPA at that time was still investigating potential sources.

Recent soil testing had been undertaken at a site at Penneshaw and the results will be provided to the EPA and then the council "in due course", the spokesperson said.

But Mrs Craig said she was very disappointed to see the fuel leaking out again after some months of the flow abating.

She said she had been in regular contact with the EPA authorities about the mystery leak over the past seven years.

The leak appeared to stop in about June 2021, and at that time she notified the EPA of its cessation.

However, she was surprised to see the leak again just when she visited this month and has again notified the EPA.

But she was frustrated that in this modern age the source of the fuel contamination had not yet been determined.

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The contaminants have been determined by the EPA to be diesel and petrol fuels that have been present in the environment for between 18 and 34 years.

Chemical analysis has revealed that some of these contaminants are from different sources.

The council became aware of potential contamination within Christmas Cove in 2015. Due to the nature of the contaminants, it was suspected that the source is a near-by petrol station.

The KI Council has been assured a previously leaking tank had been removed by the service station operator.

The councillors also was aware of other potential sources, including unknown buried fuel tanks around Penneshaw.