Ammonia leak at Orica’s Kooragang Island facility

Orica has seen an ammonia spill at its Kooragang Island plant this morning after a leaking gasket was discovered.

Emergency crews were at the scene at 7am, where the spill was contained by Fire and Rescue NSW.

Newcastle Herald reported that while the exact amount of ammonia which leaked is unclear, the gas was released from a flow instrument in a pipeline able to hold a maximum amount of 100 kilograms.

An Orica spokeswoman said the spill was contained ‘‘without impact on Orica’s Kooragang Island workforce or the surrounding community.’’

‘‘While the release was below reportable levels, Orica contacted relevant authorities and the fire service and regulators attended the site as a precautionary measure,’’ she said.

‘‘The cause of the release will be investigated.’’

Chemical leaks have been reported at the Kooragang Island plant numerous times in the last 12 months.

In February the company reported a minor nitric acid leak at the plant of between three and five litres.

While the Environmental Protection Agency investigated an ammonia leak that occurred at the facility in March.

AAP reported at the time that a “plume of ammonia belched into the air from the vent stack of an Orica factory”.

Orica manufactures ammonium nitrate for the mining industry as well as fertiliser products.

Image: Dean Osland, Newcastle Herald