Coode Island Community Consultative Committee Update

Safety and environmental safeguards to be included in the new and upgraded Terminals plant at Coode Island were presented to the Committee’s April 13 meeting.

Terminals’ Coode Island Manager Carlo Fasolino discussed the technology and technical options which will be addressed as part of the upgrade. He said:

  • Spill control would be improved using concrete bunds with sealed asphalt floors, covered pumps, above ground pipe work, covered truck loading bays separated from adjoining road drainage systems, truck loading spill containment, and improved methods of removing chemicals from lines and tanks prior to their re-use.
  • Air emissions would also be subject to major improvement. The existing Vapour Emissions Recovery System relies on carbon beds to filter chemicals from vapour emissions. The carbon beds have not been able to achieve EPA standards and require steam cleaning with the waste taken off site and incinerated. Both the new and the upgraded plant will incorporate waste minimisation and collection technology.

Committee members stressed that emissions would need to be carefully monitored and reported.

Mr Fasolino also told the Committee that customer storage requirements for the future were now available enabling Terminals to finalise alternative layouts.

Ian Swann from the Plastics and Chemical Industry Association (PACIA) told the Committee that the chemical industry’s responsible care policy required public disclosure of many of the elements of the Major Hazards Facility Regulations Safety Case. He stressed that while the industry needed to protect matters of commercial confidentiality and national defence issues, several members he had talked to would be making the safety cases largely available to the public. Mr Swann said PACIA was available to take up any community complaints about particular issues relating to community consultation and the responsible care program.

Matthew Wylie from WorkCover provided a useful overview of the legislation and regulations administered by WorkCover.

The Occupational health and Safety Act focuses on issues associated with workplaces, while the Dangerous Goods Act focuses on the safety of people and property associated with the storage, handling and transport of dangerous goods. The Major Hazard Facility Regulations, on which the Committee has made two submissions, comes under both these Acts. WorkCover also administers the Dangerous Goods Transport Act.

There are over 2000 sites in Victoria which meet the notification requirements of the Dangerous Goods Storage and Handling Regulations. Of these, about 450 are licensed dangerous goods sites. A review of the existing regulations is due to start later this year. The new Hazardous Substances Regulations will come into force on June 1 and will provide additional protection for workers.

Terminals General Manager Peter Reddie reported that the ethyl acrylate vapour release on December 10 last year would result in a prosecution by the EPA. Although the release did not result in toxic levels, ethyl acrylate has a strong odour and several P&O Ports workers were reported to have had time off to recover from nausea.

The next CICCC on Thursday, April 27, will focus on the proposed layouts for the upgraded facility. Melbourne Ports Corporation will also give a presentation on their whole of port environmental management plan. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30pm.

Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, April 18, 2000.