Workers at a gas company in Queensland’s Western Darling Downs were told to consume milk and yoghurt to protect their stomachs from acids while working at an underground coal gasification plant, a court heard.
According to a report by ABC, the company pleaded not guilty over alleged contamination between 2007 and 2013 in Chinchilla. As the company is in liquidation, no one is in court to defend it.
A witness statement by a former gas operator was read to the court, which he prepared before his death in 2015. He said the gas burnt his eyes and nose and he would need to leave the plant after work to get fresh air because it made him feel so sick.
“We were told to drink milk in the mornings and at the start of shift… we were also told to eat yoghurt,” he said.
“The purpose of this was to line our guts so the acid wouldn’t burn our guts.
“We were not allowed to drink the tank water and were given bottled water.”
The worker said he often felt lethargic, had shortness of breath and suffered from inspections.
Another witness, a former project manager at the plant told the court he has repeatedly warned the company in 2007 that the site should be closed to prevent contamination.
The trial will last several more weeks with more witnesses coming forward to share their testimonies.