Glossary of Terms & Acronyms
Adsorption / Adsorb / Sorbed
The attraction and adhesion of a layer of molecules from a liquid or gas to the solid surface with which it is in contact.
Air Stipping (unit)
Air is blown upwards through a falling column of contaminated water. The air 'drives off' the contaminants from the water, producing a dilute air stream containing organic vapours. This occurs in a structure called a stripping column. (Air Stipping Unit = the component in the GTP that strips the volatile contaminants from water)
Australian and New Zealand Environment Conservation Council. An Australian and New Zealand government forum that developes guidelines for national and international environmental issues such as marine and freshwater discharge (e.g. ANZECC Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality ) or management of hazardous wastes such as HCB (e.g. HCB Waste Management Plan).
ANZECC (2000) Trigger Values
Values established by ANZECC on its Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality (2000) where, if these values are exceeded, they may be used to trigger an investigation or initiate a management response. These values are specific or detailed targets that are aimed to meet in order to protect the agreed environmental value of the water body.
An underground geological formation that contains water and is capable of yielding water to a well or spring; a water-bearing formation
Levels of substances or chemicals that are commonly found in the local environment
An international environmental convention, which Australia ratified, for the control of trans-border movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal. Visit website.
Benthic organisms (benthos)
Plants and animals that dwell on or in the sediment at the bottom of a water body (ocean, lake, river, etc.)
The build-up of a substance in the body of living organisms
A remediation method in which a group of natural or genetically engineered variant microorganisms is introduced (injected) to treat the contaminated soil or water
A strain or line of cells (often of microorganisms) grown and maintained in an artificial environment
The breaking down of compounds by biological processes including activity by microorganism
A build-up of biologicallly derived material - e.g. bacteria or fungal matter - leading to a restriction in flow
In the context of groundwater contamination remediation, it is an area where soil amendments have been injected or placed into the aquifer creating a flow-through bioactive zone or barrier. These amendments could include nutrients, biological cultures and other supplements to foster biological degradation of the target contaminants dissolved in the groundwater flowing through the zone or barrier.
Total mass of all living material in a specific area, habitat or region
A community of plants or animals extending over a large natural area
Removal of organic contamination utilising naturally occurring or specifically engineered or introduced bacteria
Any living organisms (flora and fauna)
Botany Industrial Park
BIP Containment Line
Groundwater containment line comprising a line of extraction wells installed near the western boundary of BIP
A narrow, usually vertical hole drilled in soil/rock. Often bores may have wells installed in them to monitor or withdraw groundwater from an aquifer
Botany Industrial Park (BIP)
BIP is occupied by three companies, Orica, Qenos and Huntsman, that have manufacturing facilities or operations there
Bund (bunded area)
A structure consisting of an impervious base and walls designed to contain spillage/leakage from stored liquid materials, typically installed around storage tanks
A piezometer is a well with a short slotted screen for measuring a potentiometric surface or elevation of the water table. Also used for collecting groundwater samples at a discrete depth. Piezometers are often installed in a bundle with wells installed at incremental depths.
Waste or extraneous material that is generated as a consequence of an industrial process
A method to validate specific measurement techniques, equipment or a model by measuring values whose true values are known
Forces acting on soil moisture in the unsaturated zone attributable to molecular attraction between soil particles and water
Carbon tetrachloride (CTC)
Also known as tetrachloromethane. A chlorinated hydrocarbon manufactured at the former Solvents Plant at the BIP until closure in 1991
Substance that can cause or aggravate cancer
Chloroform, or trichloromethane
Consolidated Human Health Risk Assessment. A report consolidating all of the human health risk assessments produced for the Botany Groundwater Cleanup Project up to the end of 2004. All subsequent environmental data is checked against the CHHRA to determine whether a revision of the calculations or the conclusions is required.
Chlorinated hydrocarbons (CHCs)
A generic term given to a range of chemical compounds composed of chlorine, hydrogen and carbon. The groundwater below the BIP and nearby areas has been contaminated with CHCs. The main CHC contaminants in the Botany groundwater are EDC, CTC, PCE, TCE and VC.
Also known as trichloromethane. A chlorinated hydrocarbon that can be generated by the degradation of CTC as well as by the reaction of chlorine derived from the degradation of other volatile CHCs with naturally occurring organic matter within the aquifer.
Community Liaison Committee
The final stage of the construction phase, comprising a series of tests and adjustments to demonstrate the required performance of equipment prior to handover to the operator
A model that describes essential features of a phenomenon and identifies its principal processes taking place
An aquifer whose upper and/or lower boundaries are confined by an impermeable geologic information, such as clay layer; an aquifer in which groundwater is under pressure
See hydraulic containment
Contamination hot spot
An area where the concentration of contaminant is significantly higher than background levels
A line on a map/figure that traces locations where the value of a variable is the same
Community Participation & Review Committee
Car Park Waste Encapsulation
The NSW Dept of Environment, Climate Change and Water (formerly, the Department of Environment and Climate Change; Deparment of Environment and Conservation; EPA [Environment Protection Authority])
The final stage of a development, involving the ceasing of operations, and the dismantling, removal and disposal of its component parts
To draw or trace the outline/contour of a matter: e.g. in a DNAPL delineation study, investigation outcomes try to depict and draw where DNAPL is located
Dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL)
DNAPLs are denser-than-water liquids, such as CHCs, that may exist as interconnected droplets in the soil and/or groundwater. These substances are not very soluble in groundwater, so may exist for a long time, slowly dissolving and contaminating passing groundwater
The build-up, over time, of particulate material in the air or a liquid as it settles out of the air or that liquid
A process in which a substance is released from or through a solid surface into another medium such as groundwater or air (opposite of sorption).
Federal Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (formerly, the Department of the Environment and Water Resources; Department of Environment and Heritage)
A process where a solid or separate-phase liquid substance is dissolved into a solvent to create a solution (e.g., like sugar or honey into a cup of tea).
Dissolved phase mass
A mass that is in a dissolved state in a liquid
Dioxins and furans are halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons (compounds with carbons and hydrogen bound in a ring-format that has chlorine atoms attached to it). There are 75 different dioxins and 135 different furans. They are Persistent Organic Pollutants, which can bioaccumulate in the body, potentially leading to cancer
Dense non-aqueous phase liquid
DNAPL source area
Area where residual or free phase DNAPL is present
The NSW Department of Planning (formerly, the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources [DIPNR])
A lowering of the water table of an unconfined aquifer or the potentiometric surface of a confined aquifer caused by pumping from wells
Directly-heated Thermal Desorption. A technology proposed to be used for the remediation of CPWE. Contaminated soil is heated to high temperatures to volatilise and drive off the contaminants. The treated soil is cooled. The off gases are destroyed in a thermal oxidiser.
Environmental Assessment. A document prepared for planned works such as a 'major project' under Part 3A of the EP&A Act. For a Part 3A major project, an EA addresses key issues raised by the Director-General of the NSW Department of Planning. The Director-General's requirements are specifically tailored in response to work being proposed, outline consultation requirements, and may require a statement of commitments in relation to environmental management and mitigation measures for the proposed project.
1,2-dichloroethane, or ethylene dichloride.
Environmental Impact Assessment. Formal and systematic evaluation of a proposal, to assess potential impacts on the environment and identify management measures to minimise such impacts
Environmental Impact Statement. A document prepared by an applicant that describes the proposed project, alternatives to the proposal, and measures to be adopted to protect the environment. It is a form of EIA. Under NSW law (EP&A Act), an EIS is prepared for certain categories of projects that are likely to significantly affect the environment.
Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (NSW) 1979
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (Cth) 1999
Environment protection licence. A regulatory instrument administered by the DECCW that permits an organisation/person to discharge, emit, or deposit wastes into the environment subject to a variety of conditions relating to control measures, monitoring, volume, timeline, nature, and composition of waste. It can be varied or revoked. Breaches of licence conditions may result in penalties and prosecutions.
Excavated Soil Building (a component of CPWE Remediation Project)
Enthylene dichloride (EDC)
Also known as 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA). The most common contaminant in the Botany groundwater . A manufactured chemical that is used commonly as a solvent and also used to make vinyl chloride from which one type of common plastic (PVC) is made. Manufacture of EDC at BIP ceased in 1998
External to or separate from the location
Pump associated with a groundwater extraction well system
A well installed in an aquifer to extract groundwater
Material used to level off a low-lying or uneven land surface
A process in which fine particles are separated from a liquid by causing them to clump together into flakes, or flocs
Former ChlorAlkali Plant (FCAP)
Demolished in late 2006, this plant was one of the original plants in BIP that produced chlorine gas, caustic soda and hydrogen gas from common salt using mercury cell technology. The new ChlorAlkali Plant uses cleaner membrane cell technology.
DNAPL saturation exceeding the capillary pressure of the soil
Feed Soil Building (a component of CPWE Remediation Project)
Groundwater Cleanup Plan
Groundwater Extraction Exclusion Area
The study of the Earth, including its composition, structure, physical properties and history.
Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC)
Carbon used to adsorb contaminants from an aqueous or vapour phase. GAC is one of the groundwater treatment methods used at the GTP.
Water Recycling Grid. A NSW Government's initiative to transport recyled water through a network of pipes across inner city areas and southern Sydney.
Groundwater is the general term for water in the ground. Underground water bodies are known as aquifers. The Botany Sands Aquifer flows slowly from Centennial Park to Botany Bay
Groundwater Extraction Exclusion Area (GEEA)
Also known as Zone 1 of Botany Sands Aquifer Management Area as set out by the NSW Office of Water. For further details, click here
Groundwater Injection and Recovery system (GIRS)
A method proposed to be used in the unlikely event that the Groundwater Treatment Plant can not operate for an extended period. It entails reinjection of groundwater extracted from Secondary Containment Area in to the aquifer upgradient of the BIP extraction line to ensure later recovery of the injected water. For further details, click here. (This proposal was formerly known as TASR.)
The rate at which infiltrated water (e.g. from rain, irrigation and ponds) reaches the underground water table
Groundwater Treatment Plant
Hectare (1 ha = 10,000 m2)
Hexachlorobenzene. A byproduct from manufacture of CTC and PCE at the former Solvents Plant. This waste has been stored on BIP in licensed storage depots.
Hexachlorobutadiene. The main contaminant of a volume of soil encapsulated under a carpark in north-eastern BIP . Orica proposes to remediate HCBD contaminated soil by building a treatment facility on site.
Human health risk assessment. A formal method of reviewing population groups, their potential exposure to chemicals of concerns, and the potential health impacts of those chemicals. The calculated risks are the product of probability and consequence of health impacts, and are compared with target levels of risk to evaluate whether further action is required.
Measures taken to lower the potentiometric surface and/or water table and to effect hydraulic capture of the contaminant plume. The use of a line of extraction wells pumping water out of the ground to form an effective barrier. This stops the groundwater - and the dissolved phase contaminants - moving past the barrier and thus contains the plume. For further details on how Orica is containing the groundwater, click here.
The difference in water pressures at two or more points. The difference causes water to flow from high to low pressure points.
Scientific considerations relating to geological formations, soil, surface water, and especially groundwater
Graphs that show the change of water levels or potentiometric surfaces over time
The study of the behaviour of water in the atmosphere, on the surface of earth, and underground
Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI Australia is now Orica)
Independent Monitoring Committee (a component of CLC)
A layer of rock, sediment or soil that does not allow water to pass through (e.g. in an aquifer)
Not permitting penetration or passage; impenetrable
The process of water entering the soil
Within the location
In situ chemical oxidation
In situ Thermal Desorption. A method of cleaning up contaminated soil by applying heat to the soil still in the ground so that contaminants are volatilised and the vapours are captured for treatment
Indirectly-heated Thermal Desorption. A method of cleaning up contaminated soil or solid waste by feeding it through a heated chamber in which the contaminants are volatilised and the vapours are captured for treatment
Local Environmental Plan. An environmental planning instrument prepared by local council to guide land use and development at local government level. The LEPs indicate what kind of activities are permitted or restricted in a particular zoning land.
A specific sea floor zone that lies between high and low tide levels
Milligram per litre (also known as parts per million or ppm)
An organism that is too small to be seen by the unaided human eye (e.g., bacteria, fungi)
Describes a particle or item that is less than a thousandth of a millimetre in size
Notice of Clean Up Action
Notice of Clean Up Action
Notice issued to Orica by the then Environment Protection Authority (now part of NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change) on 26 September 2003 under Section 91 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act (NSW) 1997 to clean up the groundwater contamination in the vicinity of the BIP
National Parks and Wildlife Act (NSW) 1974
Octachlorostyrene. A byproduct from manufacture of CTC and PCE at the former Solvents Plant at BIP.
In the Groundwater Treatment Plant it refers to the gas containing volatile organic compounds generated by the air stripping process, which is then treated in the thermal oxidiser
NSW Office of Water
The NSW Office of Water, part of DECCW (formerly, the Department of Water and Energy [DWE]; Department of Natural Resources [DNR]; Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources [DIPNR])
The loss of one or more electrons by an atom, molecule or ion. This changes the physical and chemical characteristics of the atom, molecule or ion
Primary Containment Area
Tetrachloroethene, or perchloroethylene
A highly organic material found in marshy or damp regions, composed of partially decayed vegetable matter. Peat forms part of the soil profile at Botany.
Estuary located in Botany/Banksmeadow on Botany Bay, adjacent to Port Botany's Patrick Container Terminal. Its tributaries are two stormwater drains, Floodvale Drain and Springvale Drain, that run through industrial estates in the area. The Estuary was created in the 1970s following land reclamation works for Brotherson Docks at Port Botany
Also known as tetrachloroethene - dry cleaning fluid. A chlorinated hydrocarbon manufactured at the former Solvents Plant at the BIP until closure in 1991
To cause a matter (often water) to pass through a porous material or small holes
Rate at which fluid can be transmitted through a porous medium
A chemical which doesn't break down in the environment into less harmful substances
Measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution. Typically, it ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Values of pH below 7 indicate acidic solution, and values above 7 indicate basic (or alkaline) solutions.
A well with a short slotted screen for measuring a potentiometric surface or elevation of the water table. Also used for collecting groundwater samples at a discrete depth.
(In the groundwater context) A mass of contaminated water extending outward from the source of the contamination, similar to plume of smoke that comes out of a smoke stack.
Priority Persistent Organic Pollutant. Carbon-based or organic compounds that include synthesised substances (e.g. pesticides and PCBs) and by-products generated as a result of both human and natural activity (e.g. dioxins and furan, and hexachlorobenzene [HCB]). POPs are regarded as some of the most dangerous pollutants released into the environment by humans. They are characteristically toxic, environmentally persistent, bioaccumulative in fatty tissues, and semi-volatile. It is widely distributed geographically through air and water. To address global concerns about POPs, an international convention, the Stockholm Convention, was established to reduce/eliminate their production, use, and/or release of key POPs under the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The UNEP acts as the secreatariat body for the convention.
A space in a soil material not filled by solid particles, but with air or water
An imaginary surface representing the total head/pressure of groundwater and defined by the level to which water will rise in a well
Parts per million
A process where a dissolved substance is converted into insoluble form by chemical reaction to separate it from a solution
Primary Containment Area (PCA)
The groundwater containment area located on the Orica Southlands property at McPherson Street, Banksmeadow
Pump and Treat
Remediation process where groundwater is pumped to the surface and treated to remove contamination
In the context of the thermal oxidiser (at the GTP), the rapid reduction in the temperature of the combustion gases exiting the thermal oxidiser by spraying them with large quantities of liquid. The cooling primarily occurs through the evaporation of the liquid
Rainwater Tank Rebate
A community outreach program administered under the Groundwater Cleanup Project . This program ended in June 2008. Eligible residents living within the Groundwater Extraction Exclusion Area were able to obtain a rebate of up to $2,450 in the installation of a rain water tank.
Remediation Action Plan. A formal document that describes the contamination of a site and the means in which it is planned for that contamination to be treated or managed, and the means in which the remedial work will be validated to ensure the treatment goals are achieved.
Reactive Iron Barrier
A remediation process used to break down chlorinated hydrocarbons (CHC) in the groundwater . The flow-through barrier is created by backfilling a trench excavated into the aquifer with granules of iron or by injecting very small iron particles (typically in a paste or solution) into the aquifer through a line of injection wells. The barrier is constructed perpendicular (at 90º angles) to the groundwater flow direction, so the groundwater must flow through the barrier. As this happens the contaminants in the groundwater react with the iron and are destroyed. For further details, view Fact Sheet 7: Reactive Iron Barrier (102 KB).
The addition of water to an aquifer by a natural process such as addition of water at the ground surface, or by an artificial system such as addition through a well.
Review of Environmental Factors. REF is the first step in the EIA process for particular categories of planned work. The preparation of a REF will determine whether the proposed works is likely to have a significant impact on the environment. If it is considered to significantly affect the environment, then an EIS will need to be prepared. If it is considered not likely to significantly affect the environment, the proponent will determine whether or not to proceed with the proposal based on the REF submission.
Injection of fluids into the subsurface
Material that remains in the spaces between soil particles (pore spaces) or attached to the surface of the soil particles
An evaluation of risk which estimates the relationship between exposure to a harmful substance and the likelihood that harm will result from that exposure. Risk assessments are generally expressed as the estimated chance per million that a person, exposed over some period of time (e.g. a 70 year lifetime) and some specified concentration of exposure, will experience a certain effect.
Reverse osmosis. A process for the removal of dissolved ions from water in which pressure is used to force the water through a semi-permeable membrane which will transmit the water but filter our most other dissolved materials. RO is part of the GTP.
Water that moves over the land surface/ground (e.g. streams, channels) that does not evaporate or infiltrate
The inland or upgradient intrusion of saltwater into a layer of fresh groundwater
Secondary Containment Area
A document prepared when refering a 'major project' to the NSW Department of Planning. It outlines the environmental factors to be examined as part of an environmental assessment and is used as the basis for preparing Director-General's Requirements for a proposal.
Secondary Containment Area (SCA)
The groundwater containment area southwest (downgradient) of the PCA and upgradient of Penrhyn Estuary and Botany Bay. The NCUA requires Orica to intercept and contain contaminant plumes that may have migrated or may migrate beyond the PCA. Groundwater is captured in a row of extraction wells along the median strip of Foreshore Road (west of the intersection with Botany Road)
A liquid that does not dissolve or mix easily in water, forming a separate phase or layer in the water (e.g. oil in water)
A physical property of a substance; the ability to dissolve the substance in a liquid solvent. The solubility limit is the point at which further addition of the substance into the solution no longer dissolves the substance because the solution has reached equilibrium, or saturation.
A substance dissolved in a solvent to make a solution
Sorbed phase mass
A mass that has been incorporated into a material of a different state and adhering to the surface of another molecule
Blocks of land owned by Orica located southwest of BIP at McPherson Street, Banksmeadow. Currently under proposal to remediate and develop into a warehouse industrial site.
Southlands Block 1
The portion of the parcel of land in Southlands located to the east of Springvale Drain
Southlands Block 2
The portion of the parcel of land in Southlands located to the west of Springvale Drain
A vertical exhaust pipe; a chimney, smokestack
An international convention established to address global concerns about persistent organic pollutants (POPs). It aims to reduce/eliminate production, use, and/or release of key POPs under the support of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The UNEP acts as the secreatariat body for the convention. Visit website.
Stripped Water Treatment Plant
A section of GTP that treats the groundwater after the volatile contaminants have been removed by air stripping. It consists of a set of filters, activated carbon absorbers and reverse osmosis units.
Temporary aquifer storage and recovery
Temporary aquifer storage and recovery (TASR)
A proposal that is now being referred as Groundwater Injection & Recovery system (GIRS).
Thermal oxidation (TO)
Process used to destroy chemicals by reacting them with oxygen (oxidation) at high temperature for sufficient time to complete a reaction to yield carbon dioxide and water, and hydrochloric acid where CHCs are present in the gas stream. (TO forms part of the GTP)
Time Weighted Average (TWA)
This term can be used to measure the exposure to a chemical when both the chemical concentration and time for exposure varies over time. It is usually averaged over 8 hours, which is used as the standard daily work shift.
A commonly used degreaser manufactured in the former TCE Plant at the BIP. The TCE Plant shut down in 1973. TCE can also be formed in the aquifer by the degradation of PCE.
An aquifer whose upper level can extend to ground surface
The area between ground surface and the underground water table, which contains moisture and air
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The gaseous phase of a subtance at a state of equilibrium with the identical substance in presence in another state of matter (liquid or solid) below its boiling point
Vinyl chloride (VC)
Also known as chloroethene, it is an intermediate compound manufactured in the former Vinyls Plant at the BIP that was reacted to make polyvinylchloride (PVC). VC can also be formed in the aquifer by the degradation of PCE and TCE.
Volatile organic compound (VOC)
Organic chemical with sufficiently low vapour pressure to become a gas at room temperature
Voluntary Management Proposal. A remediation proposal submitted and approved by the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water under the Contaminated Land Management Amendement Act 2008.
Voluntary Investigation and Remediation Agreement. An agreement with the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) under the Contaminated Land Management Act (NSW) 1997 to voluntarily investigate and remediate contaminated land which presents a significant risk to harm without having an investigation or remediation order issued by the DECCW.
A hypothetical cylinder of water from the surface of a water body to the bottom and within which physical and chemical properties can be measured
The solubility of a substance in water provides information on the fate and transport in the environment. The higher the water solubility, the greater the tendency to remain dissolved and the lower the likelihoood to volatilise from the water. Low water soluble substances will volatilise more readily in water, and will partition to soil or bioconcentrate in aquatic organisms.
The top of the saturated zone where unconfined groundwater is under atmospheric pressure
Water Treatment Plant (a component of CPWE Remediation Project)
Zone 1 Botany Sands Aquifer Management Area