Healthy Environment, Healthy Community, Healthy Business

Environment Protection Authority

Independent review into off-site mercury at Orica Botany: Stage Two

In November 2014, the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) appointed independent consultants WSP Environmental to test for potential mercury contamination in the residential area around Orica's former chlor-alkali plant at Botany Industrial Park (BIP). In February 2015, WSP Environmental carried out a comprehensive environmental testing program on public land within a 1.5 kilometre radius of the former chlor-alkali plant and in sediments in Penrhyn Estuary and several fish species in the area.

The results of that testing found that the risk from mercury being present in soil and stormwater drains in the residential areas around Botany Industrial Park is very low. They also reveal that mercury concentrations in the sediments in Penrhyn Estuary are low and levels in fish are all below health safety limits. Specifically, the findings show:

  • mercury concentrations in soil were less than the human health criteria for public open space land use and even below the more stringent residential land criteria
  • mercury vapour concentrations in stormwater drains and at each soil test site were less than the criteria for long-term inhalation exposure
  • mercury concentrations in sediments in and around Penrhyn Estuary were below thresholds protective of human contact
  • mercury concentrations in fish collected from Penrhyn Estuary were less than the criteria for human consumption
  • concentrations of lead, chromium, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in and around Grace Campbell Reserve were well below human health criteria for public open space land use.

A public information session was held on 3 June 2015 from 7-9 pm at Hillsdale Community Centre to give residents the opportunity to ask the expert panel any questions they might have. Download the Stage 2 – Environmental Testing Interim Results for Public Lands presentation (PDF 3.7 MB) delivered at the public forum.

Download the following sections of the report separately:

To see the results of Stage 2 testing in more detail, please click on one of the map links below:

More information

See the full schedule for the Mercury Review.

Page last updated: 02 October 2015