Chemical control order requirements

Five chemical control orders (CCOs) are in place in NSW for managing chemicals and chemical wastes that require extra regulation.

Aluminium smelting wastes, especially those originating from spent smelting pot liners and shot blast, may be hazardous due to:

  • toxicity – leachable fluoride and cyanide compounds
  • corrosiveness – high pH due to the presence of alkali metals and oxides
  • reactivity with water – producing toxic, explosive and flammable gases

These wastes require additional care, such as treatment prior to disposal.

The aluminium smelter wastes CCO (PDF 24KB) sets rules and triggers for licensing requirements relating to

  • processing
  • storage
  • transport
  • treatment and disposal

The CCO also defines specific conditions that must be included on the licences including

  • securing the premises
  • monitoring
  • remediating sites contaminated with these wastes

Dioxins are a class of chemicals that are created through

  • burning certain types of waste
  • smelting
  • manufacturing some chemicals
  • forest fires
  • volcanic eruptions

Dioxins are considered a threat to human and environmental health because they are bioaccumulative, persistent, and toxic at very low concentrations.

Dioxins are listed under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (which Australia has ratified) and are managed in Australian through the National Dioxins Program. Australia generally has low levels of dioxins compared to other countries.

The dioxin-contaminated waste CCO (PDF 20KB) relates to only one member of this family: 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (2,3,7,8-TCDD), which is internationally classified as a known human carcinogen.

The CCO prohibits the disposal of 2,3,7,8-TCDD wastes. You must get a licence from the EPA for processing, storing, selling, distributing or conveying these wastes.

The CCO sets out the details of conditions that need to be included on the licences, such as

  • environmental monitoring
  • security of the premises
  • potential remediation of contaminated sites

Organotin waste is mainly generated by the shipping industry during the removal of antifouling paint containing organotin chemicals. Organotin was once widely used as a pesticide to control the growth of algae and other organisms on ship hulls.

Using organotin marine paint has been prohibited since 2003, following an international agreement to phase it out; however, organotin waste can still occur at ship repair premises and in adjacent areas.

Organotin is toxic in the marine environment at extremely low concentrations and has been found to

  • bioaccumulate in whales and other sea mammals
  • disrupt the endocrine system of some invertebrates, leading to sterility and death

The organotin waste CCO (PDF 23KB) only applies to wastes contaminated with organotin in marine paint. It defines the activities related to these wastes that require a licence including

  • manufacture
  • storage
  • disposal

Polychlorinated biphenyl compounds (PCBs) are a class of highly persistent, bioaccumulative chemicals that were once widely used in electrical products such as transformers, capacitors and light fittings.

PCBs are listed under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. They were phased out in Australia by the end of 2009 under the National PCB Management Plan.

The PCB CCO (PDF 58KB) sets out requirements for managing PCB materials and wastes, including activities such as

  • processing
  • storage
  • transport
  • disposal

 

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