Remediation of the Botany Orica Site

ORICA - BOTANY

Orica (formerly ICI Australia) has operated a chemicals manufacturing facility at the Botany Industrial Park since 1942. Poor environmental management and waste disposal practices up to the 1980s resulted in chemicals contaminating the underlying soil and groundwater. This was an era when environmental awareness and standards were far lower than those of today. 

Orica is addressing and remediating these contamination legacies through a number of projects.  

Groundwater Clean Up Project

Past chemical manufacturing practices of Orica caused contamination of the groundwater beneath the Botany Industrial Plant (BIP) and nearby areas with chemical compounds commonly known as chlorinated hydrocarbons (CHCs).  CHCs were stored and used onsite. Some of these stored materials leaked into the ground and groundwater. Since CHCs were first detected in 1993 extensive investigations have provided information on the extent of the contamination. Even though these chemicals are no longer manufactured or used at the site, their legacy continues to affect groundwater quality beneath and down-gradient of the BIP. The Botany Groundwater Clean-up Project is designed to contain the contaminated groundwater and prevent it from entering Botany Bay by pumping contaminated  groundwater down-gradient of the BIP to a Groundwater Treatment Plant (GTP) to prevent further migration of contamination to other parts of the Botany Sands Aquifer and Botany Bay.

Groundwater Extraction Exclusion Area has also been established to cover the contaminated area. Regular groundwater monitoring is carried out by Orica and all reports are available on their website Orica Transformation - Groundwater Clean-up Project

More information can be found at: 

Former ChlorAlkali Plant

Orica is remediating mercury contaminated soil at the site of the Former ChlorAlkali Plant (FCAP) at the BIP. Orica’s former FCAP operations used mercury in the manufacture of chlorine, caustic soda and hydrogen from 1944 until 2000. These operations have resulted in the soil and groundwater at the FCAP site being contaminated with mercury. Orica no longer uses mercury at Botany. The remediation project involves removal of mercury-contaminated soil to the extent practicable followed by installation of a capping and containment system to manage the remaining mercury contamination. No mercury contaminated groundwater has been detected reaching any surface water bodies. 

More information can be found at:

Hexachlorobenzene Waste

HCB (hexachlorobenzene) is a crystalline solid waste by-product produced in the former solvent and plastic manufacturing plants at Botany Industrial Park (BIP) between 1963 and 1991. No HCB has been produced at BIP since the closure of the Solvents Plant in 1991. Approximately 15,000 tonnes of HCB waste is safely stored at the Orica Botany site while a solution for its destruction is found. The HCB waste stored at Botany is not flammable or volatile and is routinely inspected by the EPA. There are currently no facilities to treat the HCB waste in Australia. In May 2014, Orica lodged an application to the federal government to export 132 tonnes of the HCB waste currently stockpiled at Botany to France for safe and permanent destruction at a licensed facility.

More information can be found at:

The Botany Bay City Council represents the community at the Orica Botany Liaison Committee, which aims to meet 6 times a year, and extraordinarily as required, and at the Botany Industrial Park Community Consultative Committee, which meets three times each year.

EPA Review

In January 2013, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) announced that it would conduct an independent review of all information around historical mercury emissions at Botany. 

The comprehensive review is overseen by a steering panel, which includes representatives from the EPA, the community, Botany Bay City Council, Randwick City Council, NSW Environment and Heritage, NSW Health and an expert toxicologist. The review is assessing the potential for health risks to the adjacent community associated with mercury emissions from the former plant. More information can be found on the EPA website.