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Orica Logs 148 Safety Violations in 11 Years

About 4,000 litres of sulphuric acid leaked on Friday from the Foreshore Road Plant of Orica in New South Wales (NSW). It was the sixth industrial accident to hit the chemical manufacturer since its Kooragang Island plant suffered a carcinogenic chemical spill over the Newcastle suburb of Stockton in August.

Since 2000, Orica had logged 148 licence breaches at its Port Kembia site. An estimated 3,000 to 4,000 litres of sulphuric acid, which is highly corrosive, spilled from a faulty pipe which transfers chemicals between the factory and ships docked at Harbour No. 4 of Port Kembia. The spill was just metres from the ocean.

The acid drained into a culvert and into a purpose-built bund where the chemical was contained. Twenty minutes after the accident, Orica reported the leak to the Wollongong office of the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Data said Orica regularly goes beyond the acceptable sulphur dioxide limits because of the plant's faulty equipment and failure of the company to take regular pollution samples.

Orica said it took water samples after the accident and found no evidence that the chemical leaked into the harbour. The company spokeswoman said the environment was not damaged nor the employees or community placed at risk

However, NSW Environment Minister Robyn Parker said that Orica needs to address clear systemic issues covering all parts of its operations, including that one at Port Kembia, to ensure that the plant, employees, the community and the environment are safe and protected.

There was fear among residents of hexavalent chromium leak from the site in August, but the NSW EPA gave Orica clearance to resume operations at Kooragang Island.

Ms Parker rejected the criticisms from the opposition that the EPA has not briefed her properly about the incident. She said that she received regular updates about the situation and the agency is completing an investigation and report on the incident.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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