News & Media
Orica completes investigation of weak Ammonium Nitrate solution spill
8 December 2011
Orica today announced that it had completed its investigation of the weak ammonium nitrate fertilizer solution spill that took place at its Kooragang Island site on 7 December 2011.
Three senior managers and a cross-functional team have spent the past 24 hours investigating the incident and are confident that the causes have been fully identified.
Site Manager, Sean Winstone said, "We have investigated the causes of this spill and determined that it occurred primarily as a result of a failed computer card in the computer control system. The failure of this computer card meant that the control system did not shut down the plant before the overflow occurred.
"We will be keeping that section of the plant shut down until we can install equipment to prevent any future overflow. We will also be providing the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) with the results of our findings in a comprehensive report.
"Now that the cause of this recent incident is clear, I am satisfied that we can recommence the re-start of the Nitric Acid and Ammonium Nitrate Plants. All of the critical computer systems involved in the re-start of those plants have backup systems. In addition, there are independent trip systems in place to safely shut the plant down if any issues occur during start-up," Mr Winstone said.
Orica has put in place a team of experts to manage and oversee the start-up of the Nitric Acid and Ammonium Nitrate Plants. A program of communication activities to advise the community of the progress of start-up activities has been put in place. Residents (who have registered for the service) have already begun to receive email and sms alerts of key activities. A fact sheet on the start-up process is available on www.oricaki.com.au.
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