Image for Pulp mill Bass Strait effluent

With regards to Gunns pulp mill effluent being discharged into Bass Strait, Dr. Paul Sandery warns Bass Strait flushes poorly.
A Google search comes up with links to his work at:

Recent satellite images (for the period 7/7/2001 to 27/7/2011) very much appear to back up Dr. Sandery’s claims.

In these images from space we can clearly see discolouration in the water which appears to be an algae bloom that stretches from Victoria to the Tasmanian coastline.

These things happen from time to time but the most significant aspect of this event is it shows what is happening in Bass Strait and along Tasmania’s northern coast.

Using this marine event as an indicator, over this period of time there appears to be little flushing in Bass Strait and in actual fact this water-borne occurrence can be seen moving back and forth along the north coast. Any dumped effluent that had banked up would not have been readily diluted. In fact it would have become more concentrated I believe.

Under these conditions this could have dire and lasting consequences not only for our marine environment, but also for a great many Tasmanians. The Furneaux Group is also in Bass Strait and is part of Tasmania.

This is what Gunns have to say in support of their ‘marine environment protection’ findings. “The hydrodynamic research project found that the key marine toxicant of concern, chlorate, will readily meet its dilution targets and poses a very low ecological risk to Commonwealth marine areas and elsewhere.”

You can read this at:

We all know that chlorate is not the only key toxicant of concern.

My study did not take $5 million and two years to complete. However, I am wondering if periods of slow or no flushing in Bass Strait (as a result of the non-existent eastward-flowing Flinders Current during winter), happened to occur in Bass Strait whilst scientific studies for Gunns pulp mill were being undertaken, or whether they were indeed factored into any modelling that was done for Gunns. Perhaps the wrong modelling was used or perhaps the inputs were wrong.

Further, many times a year Tasmanians are subjected to sea salt mists blown in from Bass Strait. It would be reasonable to expect we would be forced to breathe pulp mill toxins that had attached themselves to this sea salt haze.

The same occurs when harmful toxins attach themselves to wood smoke particulates. These end up crossing from our lungs and into our bloodstream. The forest industries are well aware of this.

Dr Stuart Godfrey warned that pulp mill effluent would end up on the shore and it appears from the recent images from space that his information is accurate.

Bass Strait is not the appropriate place to be dumping pulp mill waste and the Federal Government must revisit the permit approval.


Satellite imagery courtesy of NASA’s MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Centre.
Ocean Currents around Tasmania:

Download to see all maps:


Clive Stott