Cyanide discovered in Gladstone stormwater drains

There are concerns for the health Gladstone residents, following traces of cyanide being discovered in water samples from a stormwater drain outside the Orica plant.

The Gladstone Observer is reporting it received unconfirmed reports of the presence of the chemical and began an investigation.

When reporters questioned an Orica spokesperson, she admitted the breach had occurred.

“As you would appreciate, this is a current investigation and we are not able to discuss it or any of the details relating to it,” the spokeswoman told the Observer.

“I can however say that we are cooperating fully with DERM.”

According to a spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Resource Management, the breach was not uncovered by Orica reporting it, but rather through proactive compliance checks by the department.

“The alleged incident is still being investigated,” the spokeswoman told the Observer.

“Initial investigations by DERM officers indicted there was no risk to the environment or public.

“The department take incidents like this very seriously and if the investigation finds an offence has occurred, the department will take appropriate enforcement action.”

The stormwater drain leads to mangroves that contain a variety of natural flora and fauna and Capricorn Conservation Council’s (CCC) co-ordinator Michael McCabe said the community’s trust with industry is waning.

“We have all these great regulations and rules governing these projects but the difficulty is we often rely on companies to self manage, comply and to self assess how they are going,” Mr McCabe said.

“We are not convinced the process works enough to protect the environment.

"You can have all the conditions for cyanide spills but the resources available to actually properly measure, monitor and follow through on compliance is often lacking.

“The resources available to DERM need to be reviewed because the CCC are not convinced that things are being looked after well.”

Image: Australian Travel

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