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CICCC Update-17 May 2007 Meeting

Cotton Seed Oil spill at Terminals Facility

At the CICCC meeting on 17 May 2007, Peter La Rose, Terminals’ Coode Island Facility Manager, advised the meeting of a oil spill which occurred on 26 March 2007. 30 tonnes of the non-hazardous cotton seed oil overflowed from the top of the tank during the transfer of a large parcel from a ship. The spill was entirely contained within the bund around the tank, and was cleaned up promptly.

While this incident never posed a threat to human safety or the environment, it was the result of human and operational errors. In short, discharging to both road tankers and tanks simultaneously was done through a manifold, as the total volume of the parcel was greater than the available tank storage. At the conclusion of the filling of a smaller tank, and intermittent road tanker filling, the flow rate to Tank 321 increased. This greater rate was not allowed for, causing the overflow.

Terminals have amended their operating procedures so that manifolds are no longer used in such cases, dipping frequencies have been shortened, and high level alarms will be fitted to similar non-hazardous tanks. The lessons learned from the spill have been applied at Terminals facilities throughout Australia.

Community member Ian Thomas complimented Terminals on the full report of this incident and the Company’s openness.

New use for the combustors

Tim Faragher, the EPA’s representative at the meeting, advised that following successful trials, Terminals have been granted approval to allow the destruction of liquid waste in their combustors. Terminals’ EPA licence will be amended to limit Terminals to destroying only its own liquid waste in this manner. Additionally no Class 3 substances (such as benzene) will be permitted to be burnt.

Electronic control system

A further improvement has been made to the Terminals electronic control system. Now key staff will be able to manage the facility remotely from their lap-top computers. Should an emergency or fault arise at night, a telephone alarm will be sent to the key staff, who will then be able to take action such as remotely closing valves to isolate a fault.

National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS)

Bro Sheffield Brotherton made a presentation to the Committee on NICNAS, which has the primary role of assessing industrial chemicals (but not agricultural or medical chemicals). There are a great number of agencies both at State and Commonwealth levels who have some responsibilities for chemicals in Australia, but coordination between them is not good.

While NICNAS has an inventory of 38,000 chemicals, it has assessed only about 150 – 180 of the most significant ones. Canada has assessed over 5000 industrial chemicals.

A focus for NICNAS has been the assessment of chemicals proposed to be imported, and some 500 of these have been assessed.

The Commonwealth has no powers to control chemicals (i.e. to ban them). These powers lie with the States. As an example, Bro mentioned the control of ammonium nitrate, where eight different approaches have been implemented by the States.

NICNAS is fully funded by industry. BRO has assisted NICNAS in developing a procedure for public engagement. Environmental agencies throughout Australia support the Commonwealth taking control of industrial chemicals. Further information on NICNAS can be found on the web at

Terminals’ Open Day at Coode Island

The open day at Terminals has been rescheduled to 20th October 2007 and will form part of the broader program being run by PACIA (Plastic and Allied Chemicals Industry Association).

Next meeting of the CICCC

The next meeting of the CICCC will be held on Thursday 19 July 2007 at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30 pm. Scott Maloney, EPA’s Manager for the West Metropolitan Region, will make a presentation on EPA’s corporate directions.

Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, 30 May 2007