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CICCC Update – 7 August 2008 Meeting

Heavy metal monitoring

In the course of monitoring groundwater bores for organic contamination, Terminals Pty Ltd has been testing for a wide range of heavy metals. Although not an EPA requirement, the testing has been done now for five years, without adding to the overall environmental performance on the site. Heavy metals were never stored at the site, and their presence on the site reflects past waste disposal practices. The results of the monitoring were reviewed at the August meeting, and Quentin Cooke of EPA stated that he considered that reducing the heavy metal monitoring to about five boreholes at the perimeter of the site annually was sufficient. The community representatives agreed with that view.

Emergency Communication – Community Alerting

Colleen Hartland, MLC advised that although her motion to fund community alerting in residential areas adjacent to industry was passed by Parliament, the Government is looking to the Commonwealth to progress the issue. At the Tottenham chlorine gas incident in December 2007, residents had followed the advice to stay indoors, not being aware that the gas had seeped into their homes. Colleen stated that she believed that Agencies had taken the Tottenham incident seriously, but State government action has not been adequate since that time. Although the matter is currently on the agenda of the Australian Emergency Management Committee, Colleen will continue to raise the profile of the issue.

Theo Pykoulas told the committee that the Maribyrnong City Council has developed a brochure about industry in the area, to be delivered soon to residents. Industry has assisted in funding the package which has the theme “When Industry is your Neighbour”. At officer level, Council has put relevant Government Officers on notice that the City of Maribyrnong would invoice to recover costs of the telephone alerting under the normal disaster recovery (financial) arrangements, should the alerting system need to be used for a major incident. Theo also advised that the Government is looking at a central telephone emergency information number for all community emergencies, whether fire, floods or chemicals. The Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner is preparing a business case to put to government.

Safety & Environment incidents on site during June and July 2008

Peter La Rose reported on five incidents on site, four of which involved leaking of product. Prompt action restricted any damage to the environment, and in three cases the cause was equipment failure on road tankers that were at the facility to take delivery of product on behalf of clients. The other case concerned the failure of a flexible hose during ship discharge. The hose split, allowing about 50 litres of Caradol, a thick waxy substance, to spill onto the wharf. While quick action limited the spill, and the wharf hose was replaced, the ruptured wharf hose had been pressure tested prior to the discharge. The committee requested Terminals to have the ruptured wharf hose returned to the supplier for further testing. Terminals agreed and will further investigate the failure of the wharf hose.

Next meeting of the CICCC

The next meeting of the CICCC will be held on Thursday 6 November 2008 at the Maribyrnong Town Hall on the corner of Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray at 6.30 pm. Any interested member of the community is welcome to attend the CICCC meetings.

Robin Saunders, Chair CICCC, 13 August 2008