Water Week

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Gunns ordered to measure pollution keep dioxins and furans in the benthic sediments in Commonwealth marine water below850pg TEQ/kg

Posted by waterweek on 8 October 2007

The Chief Scientist’s report said if results of the modelling indicate that effluent hydrodynamics and deposition will result in chemicals reaching trigger levels, Gunns must change the design and operation of the effluent pipeline and diffuser; and must also:• undertake surveys to establish baseline ecological data upon which impacts of effluent can be measured, include, baseline (pre-commissioning) survey of both benthic infauna and epibenthic flora including: abundance and diversity at ‘impact’ locations outside the defined mixing zone; and control locations to the east and west of the outfall.

• must prepare and have approved by the Minister, prior to commencement of mill commissioning. These strategies must include;

• early warning of reaching trigger levels in Commonwealth waters;

• effluent quantity and quality;

• Chemical and ecotoxicological assessments including assessments of endocrine-disrupting ability, and ecological assessments;

• Water and sediment quality and bioaccumulation of contaminants in the same sentinel biota as used to determine baseline concentrations;

• informed by the hydrodynamic and sediment transport models;

Weekly averages: Effluent monitoring must be undertaken on weekly composites of the daily samples; and sediment and bioaccumulation monitoring must be taken six monthly for Dioxin and furan concentrations in the benthic sediments surrounding the marine outfall progressively towards and including Commonwealth marine waters; and on

• Impacts of chlorate on the total area of brown algae adjacent to the marine outfall; Pollutant levels in sentinel benthic and pelagic species; on

• Whole-effluent toxicity testing using species relevant to Commonwealth waters in Bass Strait; witha mechanism or mechanisms for tracing the actual movement of the effluent plume.

• The maximum limit of concentration of dioxins and furans in the benthic sediments in any location within Commonwealth marine waters was set at 850pg TEQ/kg. To ensure that concentrations do not reach this level, trends in concentrations of samples collected in State and Commonwealth waters, in accordance with the EIMP, must be analysed and independently reviewed on a six-monthly basis.

• Gunns Limited must report on the results of the pulp mill’s performance against the monitoring requirements and those parameters prescribed in the EIMP in the annual report required under condition Performance against the monitoring requirements to be included in the annual report must be verified by an independent expert, agreed to by the Department.

Reference: Malcolm Turnbull MP, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, 4 October 2007. Further information, along with the Chief Scientist’s report, and information on the Chief scientist’s panel and Terms of Reference, is available on the Department’s website at http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/pulpmill

Erisk Net, 4/10/2007

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