Coode Island Committee Update

Terminals Safety Case

At the CICCC meeting on 11 July 2002 Geoff Millard made a major presentation on the Safety Case Terminals submitted to WorkSafe on 28 June 2002. Geoff stated that the Safety Case was a lengthy report, running to two volumes plus a Hazards Register on a CD Rom. The Terminals facility was a Major Hazards Facility many times over, as it exceeded the threshold volume for a number of chemicals stored at the facility. While Terminals believe they have a robust facility, they had a philosophy of continuous improvement before Safety Cases were required, and have built this philosophy into their Safety Case.

The Safety Case has required Terminals to identify potential major incidents that pose a serious and immediate risk to health and safety and to test their systems to demonstrate that they have reduced the risks “As Far As Practicable”. The worst case “credible scenario” that was identified in the Safety Case is a spill over the full bund area of acrylonitrile resulting from, say, a 75mm hole in an acrylonitrile tank.

Acrylonitrile is a toxic liquid that evaporates quickly, and under worst case meteorological conditions such a temperature inversion and very slow wind movement, a cloud of vapour could potentially spread 1350m down wind which could cause respiratory difficulties to people in it’s path. This is based on the most conservative estimates, namely the IDLH (“Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health”) rating for acrylonitrile set by the London fire brigade. 1350 metres would take the acrylonitrile cloud over the railway line just west of the Maribyrnong Civic Centre if the wind was in that direction and no emergency action was taken to address the source.

190 actions (including documentation) were identified as improvements that would further reduce the overall risk at the facility, including 7 capital improvements that would cost approximately $250,000 in total in addition to the new Vapour control system currently being installed at a cost of $4.4 million. Committee Members sought details of those improvements, and requested that they be included in the Environment Improvement Plan.
Community members raised the issue of terrorist attacks, and the possibility of a 747 jumbo jet being crashed onto the facility, which would far exceed in severity the worst “credible scenario”. Terminals undertook to do further work on that scenario

Terminals’ Environment Improvement Plan (EIP)

Committee Members saw the review of the EIP as potentially its most important work, as the EIP will give a snapshot (updated over time) of the identified deficiencies of the facility, and the firm plans for improvement. Community members were critical of the EIP being developed without community consultation. Terminals confirmed that while the EIP was submitted to EPA by the end of June to meet statutory requirements, they were prepared to work through further amendments with the community.

Terminals was asked to advise the Committee on how best the EIP can be presented to the Committee in chunks, for discussion and review, with the first “chunk” to be presented at the August meeting.

Terminals Pty Ltd sale process

Allen Hugli of Burns Philp advised the Committee that negotiations on the sale of Terminals were progressing with a short list of prospective buyers. He was confident that a sale would eventuate.
Terminals’ Safety Record

Carlo Fasolino reported that it is over two years since an accident on site resulted in a worker losing time from the job. The last such accident (in 2000) involved an operator being off work for a short period with a sprained ankle.

Benzene emissions

Throughout this year, benzene monitoring has shown vapour emissions to be well below EPA Licence requirements (4 gpm measured against the SEPP allowable of 51 gpm). This result has been achieved by Terminals replacing the carbon beds in the Vapour Emission Control System monthly, at a cost of $20,000 to $24,000 per month.

EPA prosecutions

As a matter of general interest, EPA reported two significant recent prosecutions. On 21 June 2002 the owner of the cargo carrier MV Humboldt Current was convicted and fined $25,000 after pleading guilty to the discharging oil to the Yarra River on 24 October 2000. The ship’s master was also fined $15,000 without conviction.

On 27 June 2002 Western Recycle Pty Ltd was convicted, after pleading guilty to one charge of air pollution in relation to an incident which occurred between 15 September and 6 October 2001. Under alternative sentencing provisions of the Environment Protection Act 1970 the defendant was ordered to pay $35,000 to Brimbank City Council to fund water and air quality monitoring programs. In addition the defendant was ordered to publish a notice of the results of the prosecution in the Age, Herald Sun, Western Times and Financial Review.’

Resignation by Margaret Donnan

Margaret Donnan, Operations Manager, Major Hazards, has resigned from WorkSafe. Margaret has had a long career with the Victorian Public Service and WorkSafe, and has actively supported the work of the CICCC. She has been appointed Regulatory Affairs Manager with PACIA (the Plastic and Chemical Industry Association).

Next meeting of the CICCC

Agenda items for the August meeting of the CICCC include the further discussion on the Environment Improvement Plan and the Safety Case, further advice on the soil remediation options, and discussion on future options for the Committee. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting on Thursday 8th August 2002 at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30 pm.

Robin Saunders, 

Chair CICCC, 

15 July 2002