New Study in Homebush Bay
7th May, 2003
Orica today said agreement had been reached with the NSW EPA for a new scientific study into lead in sediments in part of Homebush Bay adjacent to the former Berger paint factory on Rhodes Peninsula.
The new study, under a Voluntary Investigation Agreement (VIA), follows the EPA’s finding that lead levels in the sediments adjacent to the former Orica Rhodes site pose a significant risk of harm. As a result, the EPA has declared this section of the sediments an Investigation Area under the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997.
The new study will involve detailed analysis of current scientific information, further sampling of the sediments and development of an investigation report for review by an EPA accredited site auditor. It is expected that the review, sampling program and report will take eight months.
This will be the second study into Homebush Bay sediments funded by Orica. Completed in 2001, the earlier study covered a wider area in the southeast corner of Homebush Bay and was designed to meet the requirements of the NSW EPA and NSW Waterways by the internationally recognised environmental consultants URS and EVS and undertaken by URS.
The new study will enhance the understanding of potential risk to human health and ecological systems in an area close to the former Orica site and will address concerns raised by the EPA and the NSW Department of Health.
Depending upon the outcome of the research, a decision will be made about any future action on lead contamination in the sediments.
Orica formerly operated both paint and chemicals plants on the Rhodes Peninsula facing Homebush Bay. These factories were closed several years ago. Orica has fully remediated these sites in preparation for their future development.
The sites have now been sold and are being developed for new uses including medium-density waterside housing, commercial space and some retail outlets.