Investigation of the potable water contamination incident at Ranger mine March 2004
Supervising Scientist Report 184
Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2004
ISBN 0 642 24387 5
- SSR 184 - Investigation of the potable water contamination incident at Ranger mine March 2004 (PDF - 12,411 KB)
About the report
At approximately 10.00 am on 24 March 2004 the Supervising Scientist was advised by the General Manager Operations of the Ranger mine that the potable water system at the mine had been contaminated, probably by process water. As a result, all operations at the mine and mill had been shut down, the potable water system had been isolated and all non-essential staff had been sent home. In addition, he advised that, since Jabiru East (but not the township of Jabiru) received its potable supply from the mine, the potable supply to Jabiru East had been shut down and all businesses in the Jabiru East region, including the Airport, the Supervising Scientist's Jabiru Field Station and the Gagudju Workshop, had been advised that water remaining in their systems should not be consumed.
The Hon Dr David Kemp MP, the then Minister for the Environment and Heritage, was informed of the occurrence of the incident and Dr Kemp requested that the Supervising Scientist should conduct a comprehensive investigation into the incident and provide a report to him at the conclusion of the investigation.
Late on 25 March 2004, Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) advised the Supervising Scientist that it had now been established that, during the night of 23-24 March 2004, contaminated potable water from a holding tank adjacent to Jabiru Airport had discharged to the environment. This additional information was subsequently provided to Dr Kemp who reiterated his request for a comprehensive report from the Supervising Scientist.
This report contains the results of the Supervising Scientist's investigation of the incident, including his assessment of the likely impact on the health of workers at the mine site, on the health of people living in the vicinity of the mine and on the environment of Kakadu National Park.