According to Sydney Water, the concentration of mercury discharged from both the North Head and Malabar plants (NSW) in 2013/14, falls well within the licence limits set by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
Sydney Water is the largest water utility in Australia servicing around 4.6 million customers across its area of operation. Their plants at North Head and Malabar are the largest in Australia, treating and safely discharging the waste of more than 2 million people every day, helping to protect the community and environment.
In the 2013/14 financial year Sydney Water discharged a total of 30kg of mercury from North Head and 9.2kg from Malabar, falling well within the licence limits of 60kg/yr and 103kg/yr respectively.
In fact, the concentration of mercury discharged is at least 10 times less what is considered safe to appear in drinking water and at no stage has Sydney Water breached its Environment Protection Licence. All of their plants adhere to strict environmental requirements set by the EPA, which are monitored and reported regularly.
Sydney Water does not produce mercury, however it is their responsibility to treat wastewater and trade wastewater that can include traces of mercury and other metals.
Sydney Water states that it takes this responsibility seriously and ensures accurate monitoring of wastewater discharges for mercury and toxicity across all areas of operation.
They also undertake Ocean Sediment Monitoring to see if there is any impact on marine ecosystem health at our deep ocean outfalls.
The program has been in place for over 10 years with data showing no measurable impact on marine ecosystems.