17 Apr

Producers confident of developing olive oil from sludge pit

Olive trees are being used to clean-up former mining land contaminated with heavy metals at Broken Hill, in far western New South Wales.

The trees are about to produce their first vintage of olive oil and those involved in the project are confident the oil will be free of contaminants.

Doctor Steve Flecknoe-Brown from the Broken Hill Gourmet Foods Cooperative, says the oil, from trees planted in a former sludge pit, will be independently tested.

“We’re going to get the NSW Department of Agriculture to assess not only the quality of the oil as it compares to other olive oils, but they will also independently, in a completely bullet proof fashion test it for heavy metals, so that we can prove our principle that this is a good way to rehabilitate heavy metal contaminated soils, not just here in Broken Hill, anywhere in the world,” he said.

[Source] Click here

3 Responses to “Producers confident of developing olive oil from sludge pit”

  1. Steve Flecknoe-Brown Says:

    The NSW State Department of Primary Industries conducted independent testing on extra-virgin grade olive oil that they extracted from the olives grown at this site, delivered to them by courier in May 2007. The oil showed no trace of heavy metals, as expected. An Australian Innovation Patent has been lodged on the process of using edible oil crops to rehabilitate soils contaminated by heavy metals.

  2. Olives101 Says:

    Thanks Steve for the info.

  3. Christine Everingham Says:

    Hi Steve

    We are building a community garden in Newcastle on the site of an old train shed – also in area where an old power station used to be. It has been covered with fill. We wish to plant a row of olive trees on this land which the council says is likely to be contaminated with heavy metals. I found your experiment really interesting and wonder if you have any further information that might help us convince council that the olive fruit will be OK to eat.

    Christine Everingham for Sandhills Community Garden

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