The discovery of per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in groundwater near the former Gonnian Platers factory at Georgetown is the latest chapter in a 30 years saga to manage the effects of legacy industrial pollution at Hamilton North.
The former Australian Gas Light Company on Chatham Road and the former Electric Lamp Manufacturers of Australia factory on Clyde Street both left trails of pollution in the suburb long after their doors closed.
An $11.5 million clean-up project is presently underway at the seven hectare former gasworks site, which operated between 1913 and 1985.
An analysis of contaminants left on the site revealed a range of known carcinogens, potentially carcinogenic compounds and toxic compounds including benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), total recoverable hydrocarbons (TRH), benzo(a)pyrene, cyanide, ammonia and lead.
A 2016 report noted some of the toxins, including cyanide, ammonia and lead, were leaching into groundwater and posed a risk to human health.
The site's owner Jemena plans to remediate the area to a point where it will be suitable for commercial and industrial purposes.
Potential cancer-causing contaminants, volatile chlorinated compounds, zinc and lead were found also in the ground near the former ELMA lamp works site in 2002.
The Environment Protection Authority advised nearby residents to stop using their backyard bores in 2003.
The authority's representatives visited the suburb again last week after groundwater testing revealed PFAS pollution was moving away from the former Goninan electroplating facility on Broadmeadow Road in a south-west direction.
Residents in streets near factory were asked if they consumed groundwater or ate backyard vegetables to determine if precautionary dietary advice was required to minimise exposure to PFAS.
An Environment Protection Authority spokesman said the long-standing national approach to managing the impacts of site contamination, including PFAS, was to focus on minimising potential human exposure.
"Minimising human exposure may include eliminating consumption of contaminated groundwater and eliminating the consumption of vegetables watered with contaminated groundwater," he said.
"It is important to note that Hamilton North residents have access to town water supplied by Hunter Water, which remains safe to use."
"Last week, the Environment Protection Authority visited local residents to remind them to not use bore water."