Coode Island Committee Update

Note: CICCC would appreciate the cooperation of media staff in publicising the CICCC web site ( in any story that is run.

Appreciation of Cr Sarah Coward
On the eve of her departure as a Councillor from Maribyrnong City Council, the CICCC invited Cr Sarah Coward to its March meeting, to express directly to her the Committee’s appreciation for the leading role she took six years ago in creating the CICCC. In response, Cr Coward remarked that the CICCC was a committee that needed to be established, and its longevity and vibrancy demonstrated that need. Sarah reminded the Committee of the need for continued vigilance.

The Terminals Environment Improvement Plan
Final Committee suggestions for the Environmental Improvement Plan were agreed at the meeting, and no further comments on the draft Improvement Action Report were made. On receipt of final comments from MFESB, Terminals and EPA will finalise the documents. The EIP provides a summary of the major improvements to be carried out at the plant over the next two years. The Improvement Action Report will document progress in achieving those improvements, and will be regularly updated and available on the CICCC web site.

Rapid response from EPA Chairman
At the last CICCC meeting Community Representative Ian Thomas told Mick Bourke, the new EPA Chairman, of his concern about the apparent differences in the way the three EPA Metropolitan regions policed industry practice. Ian told the Committee of his delight that Mick had appointed Keith Smithers to follow up his concern.

The Sparge Curtains
Sparge Curtains are a technique being used by Terminals for removing organic contaminants from groundwater before it percolates to the Maribyrnong River. Alex Mikov and Mark Stevenson from ERM provided the Committee with a detailed presentation on the Sparge Curtains. The “curtains” are in fact a wall of air bubbles, which are injected about 6 metres below the surface, and assist in lowering the groundwater contamination levels. Surface fans, pipework and a line of injection bores supply air below the water table, and a separate fan sucks up the air as it bubbles to the surface.
Three mechanisms assist in cleaning the volatile organic chemicals polluting the groundwater. The additional air assists the growth of “bugs” that feed on the chemicals (bio-remediation); some volatiles are absorbed into the air and are carried to the surface collection system which then is cleaned through carbon beds; and the air curtain also causes a localised rise (or “mound”) in the groundwater profile below the ground surface, that contains the movement of the groundwater.
The operation of the Sparge curtain has been very successful in reducing contaminants before the groundwater passes to the Maribyrnong River, and the Sparge Curtain is being extended east and south of its present location. The Sparge Curtains have cost Terminals $250,000 to install, and the extensions will cost a further $200,000.

Next meeting of the CICCC
At its April 2003 meeting the CICCC will discuss how it can better communicate with the community. Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting on Thursday 10th April 2003 at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30 pm.

Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, 21 March 2003