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HCB Waste


Orica had stores of 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 and subsequently exported 135 tonnes of HCB waste to Finland for permanent destruction by Fortum Waste Solutions (previously Ekokem). 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. 

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. The HCB waste stored at Botany is not flammable or volatile. The drums containing HCB waste deteriorate over time and thus require repackaging.  

HCB Waste Destruction Program

135 tonnes of Hexachlorobenzene (HCB) waste has safely and permanently been destroyed in Finland at a facility operated by Finnish environmental management company, Fortum Waste Solutions (previously Ekokem), in early 2017.  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. 

An application to export a further 1,500 tonnes was approved by the Australian Department of the Environment and Energy and the Finnish government in August/September 2017. Since that time, we have exported approximately 11,000 net tons of waste to Europe for safe destruction.

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

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 publicly available during that period and are now 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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