First results of water quality samples taken from Gladstone Harbour have found no detectable levels of cyanide.
The Department of Environment and Resource Management’s Director-General Jim Reeves said the water quality tests had been taken from the area in the harbour near the plant’s release diffuser and potential stormwater runoff areas.
“Cyanide was not detected in water quality samples taken near the Orica discharge point on Friday,” Mr Reeves said.
“The detectable limit for cyanide is 0.004 milligrams per litre (mg/l).
“Further results from samples taken on Thursday and Friday will be available later this week,” Mr Reeves said.
DERM took samples from the Orica plant on Thursday night as soon as advice was received from Orica that a number of non-compliant discharges of waste water had occurred since January.
DERM will take regular samples both in the harbour and at the Orica site and these will be tested by accredited laboratories
DERM issued Orica with an Environmental Protection Order on Thursday night to cease wastewater releases to a trade waste facility unless authorised by DERM.
Mr Reeves said the department was continuing a comprehensive investigation of non-compliant releases.
“DERM officers are onsite at Orica to monitor and ensure compliance prior to approving any discharge from the Orica cyanide plant,” Mr Reeves said.
DERM has advised that if a company is convicted of wilful serious environmental harm it can be liable for fines up to $2,082,500 and company directors can be liable for prison terms up to five years.
Dredging Today Staff, March 7, 2012; Image: westernbasinportdevelopment