Media statement - Update on sampling of Darcy Road drain Port Kembla

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will conduct a six month sampling and testing program at Darcy Road drain at Port Kembla to monitor water quality following preliminary testing by the EPA on the levels of metals in the water.

Results of new preliminary water sampling in the drain by the EPA showed levels for most metal samples to be significantly lower than results provided in October by a community member, who alerted the EPA.

Samples collected by the EPA’s specialist environmental sampling team showed some results, including aluminium, iron and lead, were considerably lower while results for nickel and selenium were slightly higher. Some metals, including copper, manganese and zinc exceeded the national water quality guidelines but are not higher than the results the community attained.

The presence of heavy metals and contaminants is not unexpected given the long industrial history of the area with the catchment for the Darcy Road drain including a heavy industrial precinct and part of the Port Kembla township.

Executive Director Metro Operations Steve Beaman said water quality could change over time and the EPA had committed to a six month sampling program to further define the potential sources.

“We know that water quality is important to the local community; it is important to us too and we appreciate their interest and look forward to working together and for them to be involved in the sampling program,” Mr Beaman said.

“We have met with interested community members, provided them with these new results and our proposed next steps. All results will be publicly available on our website.”

In addition, the EPA will require further water quality studies to be completed by the two licensed industrial premises permitted to discharge into the Darcy Road drain. The results of these studies and the sampling program will inform any future actions.

The Port Kembla Harbour area has been the subject of extensive studies in the past which have shown a steady improvement in water quality and ecological diversity over many years, in line with the EPA’s regulation and improving environmental standards.

Test results can be found on the EPA website at