||Elevated mercury detection at Orica's Botany site
18 January 2012
Yesterday Orica notified the New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (EPA) of elevated mercury results from the stack of the Directly-heated Thermal Desorption (DTD) Plant treating contaminated soil for the Car Park Waste Encapsulation Soil Remediation project at Orica's Botany site.
Orica's Managing Director and CEO, Graeme Liebelt said elevated mercury levels occurred during a test required by the EPA as part of the soil remediation at the Botany site.
"Most importantly, the EPA has confirmed the levels of mercury do not pose any risk to people," Mr Liebelt said, "Orica has adhered to EPA protocols during this test and will continue to work closely with the EPA as we complete this important remediation work on soil that had been under the car park at our Botany site for many years."
The elevated levels occurred during testing required by the EPA on 14 -16 December 2011, the results of which became available on 17 January 2012.
The EPA was notified as soon as Orica received verbal confirmation of the elevated mercury reading and the EPA received the formal report at the same time as Orica.
During the test mercury vapour from the stack was detected at 0.32 and 0.49 milligrams per cubic metre. This is above the licence limit of 0.2 milligrams per cubic metre for the plant during normal operations but well below an exemption the EPA had previously granted at the time of plant start-up to allow up to 1.0 milligrams per cubic metre.
The test was required by the EPA to confirm whether the processing of soil with higher contamination levels could meet licence operating requirements. The concentration of mercury detected poses no risk to worker or community health or to the environment.
Orica is currently investigating the cause of these elevated results. The DTD Plant is not currently operating and the contaminated soil is securely stored. The plant has been shut down since 10 January for maintenance.
Orica is currently communicating the results of this testing with the local community group.
Media contact: Nicole Ekert, Communications Manager
Tel: (03) 9665 7538
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