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Stored HCB Waste

Overview

Orica stores approximately 15,000 tonnes of HCB waste in approved transport containers at Botany Industrial Park (BIP). HCB was produced as a waste by-product in Orica’s former solvent and plastic manufacturing plants at the site between 1963 and 1991. 

In 2016 Orica received approval from Australian and Finnish governments to export 135 tonnes of HCB waste to Finland for permanent destruction by Fortum Waste Solutions. This marked a significant milestone as efforts had been underway to find a safe destruction solution for the HCB waste for three decades. There are no treatment plants in Australia capable of treating the HCB waste. Further export applications will be made.

HCB (hexachlorobenzene) is a crystalline solid waste by-product. Internationally, it is known and classified as a priority Persistent Organic Pollutant (POP). HCB has relatively low acute toxicity but prolonged exposure can impact health. HCB may accumulate in an organism (especially with prolonged or frequent exposure), does not easily break down in the environment and is a possible human carcinogen. HCB is a hazard to human health if it is ingested, or possibly from direct contact with damaged skin. 

The storage of HCB waste is licensed under Orica's Environmentally Hazardous Chemicals Act Licence No. 26 (PDF 171.2KB). The HCB waste stored at Botany is not flammable or volatile. The drums containing HCB waste deteriorate over time and thus require repackaging.  

Exporting HCB Waste for Destruction

Orica has exported an initial shipment of 135 tonnes of Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) waste and in early 2017 it was safely and permanently destroyed in Finland at a facility operated by Finnish environmental management company, Fortum Waste Solutions.

Orica’s export application to the Federal Government followed an extensive review of options over a number of years. The application was approved by Australian and Finnish governments in 2016. Orica will now progress further export applications. 

Information about the export of HCB waste is available in the following documents:

HCB Waste Repackaging Plant

Orica repackages HCB waste at Botany as required to ensure safe storage. During operation of the HCB repackaging plant, Orica conducts periodic monitoring as required by its environmental protection licence and in accordance with the Project Approval for the HCB Waste Repackaging Plant project. 

View environmental monitoring data

View HCB Waste Repackaging Plant Project Approval  (PDF 106.4KB)

View Operation Environmental Management Plan (Revision 4.2 dated September 2016) (PDF 1.5MB)

Community Engagement

For current community engagement meetings regarding the HCB waste and other active Orica Botany remediation projects visit the Orica Botany Liaison Committee (OBLC) page.

The HCB Community Participation & Review Committee (CPRC) predated the OBLC. Meetings of the CPRC were held from 1997 to 2014. Copies of meeting documents were publically available during that period and are now are available from Orica or via the OBLC Chair upon request. 

The following summary of management and disposal efforts was prepared at the request of the CPRC in 2012. 

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