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 full report - Orica Mercury Independent Review: Stage 2 Environmental Testing Regime (PDF 12.5MB)
- Download a one-page summary of the report (PDF 171KB)
Download the following sections of the report separately:
- Main report – Orica Mercury Independent Review: Stage 2 Environmental Testing Regime (PDF 6MB)
- Appendix A – Figures (PDF 3.8MB)
- Appendix B – Tables of Results (PDF 513KB)
- Appendix C – Borelogs (PDF 2.2MB)
- Appendix D – Laboratory Transcripts (PDF 3.5MB)
- Appendix E – Calibration Certificate for Lumex RA-915 Mercury Analyser (PDF 430KB)
- Appendix F – Ecosure Report (PDF 1.2MB)
To see the results of Stage 2 testing in more detail, please click on one of the map links below:
- Map of the environmental sampling zone
- Map of mercury vapour in stormwater pits - results
- Map of mercury vapour results
- Map of sediment testing results
- Map of soil sampling results - lead, chromium, PAHs, PCBs
- Map of surface soil sampling results
- Fact sheet - Stage Two
- Fact Sheet – National Environment Protection Measures (NEPMs) (PDF 43 KB)
- Q&A: Orica Mercury Independent Review Stage Two (PDF 63KB)
- Video: Mercury deposition
See the full schedule for the Mercury Review.