No harm from mercury spill: EPA

A LARGE amount of mercury spilt at the Broadwater Sugar Mill on Tuesday afternoon did not cause any environmental harm, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has confirmed.

At 2.30pm on Tuesday, NSW Fire and Rescue HAZMAT personnel rushed to the Pacific Hwy mill where a container of mercury had been dropped outside the factory.

Initially, a NSW Fire and Rescue spokesman said 900ml of mercury had been cleaned up, but yesterday the EPA said only 500ml of the metal had been spilt.

"The EPA has been advised that one 500ml container containing mercury and some overlying water was the source of the spill," EPA North Coast region manager Brett Nudd said.

"It has been estimated that approximately 200-300ml of mercury was spilled."

Mr Nudd said the mercury was historically used at the Mill in pressure-measurement gauges.

"Mercury is no longer used by the mill for this purpose," he said.

The mercury that spilled was part of a store left over from those days.

"Based on the information available to the EPA at this time, including information from the Hazardous Materials Clean Up Team, we consider that the clean-up has been conducted in an efficient and effective manner, preventing any impacts to the environment."

Emergency services spent three hours at the mill rendering the area safe and 30 workers were evacuated.

While no one was injured in the spill, police told The Northern Star that one worker was seeking medical treatment as a precaution.

The EPA is focused on investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident in order to prevent any reoccurrence, Mr Nudd said.

WorkCover is also investigating.



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