Macquarie University
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Identifying sources, determining exposure risk and assessing management strategies of environmental contamination in Australia

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posted on 2022-03-28, 09:30 authored by Paul James Harvey
Environmental contamination is a globally ubiquitous problem and is one which generates huge ongoing economic and health burdens for impacted communities. This thesis investigates the breadth of the environmental contamination problem in Australia through a number of case studies. Research was conducted across three themes: at the household, in agriculture and city-wide, to illustrate how environmental contamination impacts a wide population. The range of inter-related case studies include contamination of drinking water and associated environments by metal(loid)s in plumbing infrastructure in rural Tasmania and New South Wales. Followed by examination of the risks of metal(loid) exposure presented to household gardeners in urban gardens and the pollution of watersheds from poorly regulated intensive farming operations. The three final studies examine contamination at the city scale: surrounding the former Pasminco Cockle Creek Smelter and assessment of its soil remediation strategy, soil dust contamination surrounding a former antimony processing facility and the city-wide metal(loid) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon contamination of soils in the city of Newcastle. Each of the case studies develop and expand on a multiple lines of evidence approach for identifying the source(s) of environmental contamination when ambiguity in source(s) prevents adequate management response and ultimately clean-up. In addition, the case studies presented in this thesis adopt the concept of citizen science and so commentary on the use of citizen science and engaging the community in scientific investigation to enhance the outcomes and impact of research is presented.


Table of Contents

Abstract -- 1. Introduction -- 2. Contaminants in the home environment -- 3. Contaminants in agriculture -- 4. Contaminants at the city-scale -- 5. Discussion -- 6. Conclusions -- Appendix.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 170-176

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Department, Centre or School

Department of Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Heather Handley

Additional Supervisor 1

Mark Taylor


Copyright Paul James Harvey 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (1 online resource (xiv, 267, (19) pages)) colour illustrations

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