Orica sees EPA revise initial Kooragang spill levels

The EPA has revised the results of its initial samples taken after Orica hexavalent chromium spill in August last year.

The revised swab results and resulting estimates of the chromium six emissions at the Kooragang Island site were reportedly significantly less than those originally published after the initial leak.

Original estimates put the spill at between ten kilograms and 20 kilograms, however the new test have corrected this to only one kilogram, or approximately 35 grams to 60 grams of chromium six spread across the Stockton area.

This new results have not changed the focus of the company.

Graeme Liebelt, Orica’s chief, said "these revised figures do not change the fact that we had an incident at Kooragang Island that we deeply regret.

"We have acknowledged that our response at the time was not what the community expected and we are working hard to regain trust and improve our communications."

Orica has recorded a string of incidents across its NSW sites, at Port Kembla and its Port Botany facilities.

The explosives manufacturer has also put its restart of the Kooragang Island ammonia nitrate facility on hold after dealing with faulty compressors and a minor nitric acid leak on site.

Lieblet went on to say that at the time of the 8 August incident, the NSW Department of Health advised that the impact on human health from the leak was negligible, and the latest figures reinforce this.

He added that the company will continue to focus on safety as it restarts its plants.


Image: Newcastle Herald – Robert McKell


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