The EPA held a community forum on Thursday 7 March to discuss the Orica Mercury Independent Review of the former chlor-alkali plant remediation and legacy contamination at Matraville. The forum took place from 5.30 to 7.30 pm at the Alf Kay Eastlakes Community Hall, Florence Avenue, Eastlakes.
Information was provided about the proposed Independent Review and community members were given an opportunity to discuss the establishment of the Steering Panel, the review’s proposed terms of reference and the scope of works to be undertaken by the review process.
The event was well attended by 37 members of the community as well as representatives from Botany Bay and Randwick City Councils, the EPA and NSW Health.
Presentations were made by:
- Greg Sheehy, Manager Sydney Industry, EPA
- Mark Gifford, EPA Chief Environmental Regulator and Chair of the Independent Review Steering Panel
- Andrew Helps, community advisor
- Councillor Ben Keneally, Mayor of Botany Bay Council
The EPA distributed a number of handouts which are available below:
- Independent Review Presentation (PDF, 398KB) by Greg Sheehy and Mark Gifford
- Fact Sheet (PDF, 429KB) - Independent Review: Mercury emissions from the Orica Botany plant
- Answers to community questions (PDF, 67KB) from a public forum on 22 November 2012
The following community website provides the presentation given by Andrew Helps of Hg Recoveries at the forum: http://laperouse.info/?page_id=3470
Notice of motion
The following notice of motion was also proposed by community member Ms Jennifer Wallen and seconded by Mr Len Mahony at the community forum:
That the EPA commits to undertake independent, community-supported testing for mercury in a 1.25 km radius immediately. The testing should include surface halo testing. Also, that Mr Andrew Help’s presentation will be put on the EPA website.
Vote: 25 supporting, 2 against, 2 abstentions. The motion was carried.
The EPA has considered this notice of motion and appreciates the concerns expressed by the community. The proposal was discussed at the first meeting of the Orica Mercury Independent Review Steering Panel on 14 March 2013.
After discussions and consideration, the panel advised the EPA that undertaking testing at this stage would not be appropriate. This is because the sampling regime used will need to be developed in a scientifically rigorous manner to ensure that the appropriate health risk assessment is properly informed and the conclusions are able to be relied on. Any testing must be conducted as part of an approved methodology to ensure that the credibility and independence of the review process required by the community is not compromised.
Panel members expressed views that supported the approach the EPA has committed to: this is a comprehensive independent review that will properly inform testing and health risk assessment. The comprehensive independent review will determine the types of tests, methodologies and locations that will best assist in determining the health risk and ensure that appropriate testing and analyses are conducted. This will include conducting all necessary health risk assessments to identify any significant exposure to the adjacent community associated with mercury emissions from the former chlor-alkali plant.
The EPA is working with the panel to progress the review as quickly as possible so that the community’s concerns can be addressed.
Answers to community questions at the forum
The EPA provides the following answers to community questions at the forum (130242qsmar13.pdf, 44KB)
Find out more about the forum by emailing the EPA Botany Area Community Information Group Mailbox: firstname.lastname@example.org.