Botany Groundwater Cleanup Project
The groundwater beneath Botany Industrial Park (BIP) and nearby areas has been contaminated with chemical compounds commonly known as chlorinated hydrocarbons (CHCs). This contamination is the result of manufacturing activities including those previously undertaken by Orica's predecessor, ICI Australia. These activities no longer occur. Orica is now responsible for managing the groundwater contamination and is committed to cleaning it up to prevent long-term environmental damage. Orica established the Botany Groundwater Cleanup Project to hydraulically contain the contaminated groundwater to prevent it from entering Botany Bay and to treat the groundwater to usable standard at a Groundwater Treatment Plant (GTP)
Aerial View of the GTP
What is the Groundwater Extraction Exclusion Area (GEEA)?
The GEEA is an area identified by the NSW Office of Water (part of the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) where the extraction of groundwater for domestic use is prohibited. The GEEA boundary includes groundwater that is known or suspected to be contaminated with CHCs. Suburbs included in the GEEA are Banksmeadow, Hillsdale, Eastgardens, Pagewood, and Botany.
Download map of GEEA
from NSW Office of Water web
- Download detailed map for southern Hillsdale and eastern Banksmeadow section of the GEEA from NSW Office of Water web
On 22 August 2006 the NSW Government announced changes to the management of groundwater in areas situated above the Botany Sands Aquifer. The management area has been divided into 4 zones . The GEEA is Zone 1. For further information go to the NSW Office of Water website.
How did the CHCs contamination get to Botany area?
Groundwater in Botany and nearby areas was contaminated by various chemicals after more than a century of industrial operations by multiple companies in the area, before the implementation of strict government regulated environmental controls. ICI Australia and other industries conducted operations associated with CHCs in the area that have leaked into the ground and have slowly seeped through the soil and dissolved, creating large plumes of contaminated groundwater.
What is the extent of the contamination from BIP?
The natural groundwater flow beneath BIP is in a south-westerly direction towards Botany Bay, and it moves about 110-150 metres a year. Groundwater plumes of different contaminants that vary in concentrations and depths are present in the area between BIP and Botany Bay. Orica is extracting and treating groundwater to prevent contaminated groundwater from entering Botany Bay.
Groundwater flow direction had been historically affected by large-scale industrial pumping, but the ‘natural' flow direction towards the south-west had been restored by the late 1980s.
How is Orica held accountable?
In November 2010 the NSW EPA (then DECCW) approved a Voluntary Management Proposal (VMP), which states how and when Orica must clean up the contaminated groundwater. Orica must meet the requirements of the VMP in accordance with environmental legislation.