EPA record mercury leak at Port Botany

 The EPA has recorded an emissions breach at one of Orica’s plants.

The explosives manufacturer reported a mercury emissions breach at its Port Botany site in Sydney, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

This is the second such incident to occur in the area, after a plant leaked higher than allowed levels of mercury vapour at its Port Botany facility in September.

At the time, the EPA said “the exceedance was linked to an incident involving the soil remediation process. OEH has issued Orica with a notice and also required Orica to immediately notify residents of the incident and report to OEH that this action has been taken.

According to Orica, the meter recorded levels in excess of the 30 minute average compliance level of 2 micrograms, peaking at around 4 micrograms.

On Tuesday the EPA recorded an air sample of .49 micrograms of mercury per cubic metre, more than double its regulatory limit.

However despite the high reading, EPA acting chief regulator Gary Whytcross said it was still within safe limits.

He added that the EPA considers "this incident to be relatively minor and the EPA has already started its investigation into what occurred there".

The incident occurred at Orica’s waste remediation project, and is not linked to the mercury leaks at Port Botany facility.

Orica has been under increased scrutiny following a series of leaks and hydrogen gas flare ups from its Kooragang Island plant, as well as the sulphuric acid leak at its Port Kembla facility, where between 3000 and 4000 litres escaped from a concrete pipe.


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