Riverina Western Broken Hill Lead Abatement Program

Contact point

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Gavin Priestley Regional Director 02 6339 5900

For 10 years, NSW Public Works and partners have run the Lead Abatement Program, helping to reduce the blood lead levels of children under five years old in Broken Hill.


Broken Hill has a long and proud mining history and has actively mined the local area for well over one hundred years focusing on the extraction and processing of silver, lead, and zinc across multiple sites within the city. A major side effect to mining in and around the city limits has been the deposition of lead into the surrounding soils and residential areas through airborne dust and transportation of the raw ingredient from the many mining leases.

It is well documented that high soil lead levels have produced many health issues including severe learning difficulties in young children, poor health in industry workers and death to family pets.

In conjunction with the NSW Environmental Protection Authority and funded by the Broken Hill Environmental Lead Program, the project aims to reduce blood lead levels in young children most at risk and identified through NSW Health blood lead screening programs.

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Lead Abatement Program: Reducing lead exposure in Broken Hill homes

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Key project facts

  • NSW Public Works has effectively project-managed the Lead Abatement Program for the past 10 years.
  • Documented reduction in blood lead levels of children under the age of 5 years for families enrolled in the program.
  • Annualised construction budget of $300k to $500k.
  • Lead Abatement services completed between 15 and 25 residential homes annually.
  • Ongoing Lead Abatement services required moving forward for many years to come.

Our role

NSW Public Works (NSWPW) provided project, contract and construction management services for the project through:

  • The replacement or capping of contaminated soils
  • The encapsulation of lead-based paint to the interior and exterior or residential properties
  • Sealing of internal ceiling joints and cavities to prevent the entry of lead-contaminated dust build-up.
  • NSWPW involvement in Residential Lead Abatement spans 10 years.

Construction safety and efficiency was a time-critical success factor, completing all work without the need to relocate residents for the duration of the project.

NSWPW worked closely with the client and contractor to identify and manage project risks, including managing environmental factors relating to residential homes being constructed in the early to mid-1900s and containing Lead-based paints, Asbestos building products and poor construction techniques. NSWPW have completed multiple individual lead abatement projects with no safety issues reported.


Data collected by the NSW EPA and NSW health over recent Lead Abatement Programs has shown blood lead levels in children under the age of 5 has decreased or stabilised for those families participating in the Lead Abatement Program.

NSWPW has successfully managed the Lead Abatement program on time and within budget. Procurement strategies were developed and implemented by NSWPW to successfully combat the lack of available skilled contractors to complete the required works.

This project further expands NSWPW capability, building on Residential Lead Abatement project delivery through cooperation with the NSW EPA and the Broken Hill Environmental Lead Program.

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