COODE ISLAND COMMUNITY
Thursday, 7th August, 2008
CICCC / Chairperson
Environment. Protection Authority
Peter La Rose
Terminals Pty Ltd
State Manager Victoria, Terminals Pty Ltd
Engineering Manager, Terminals Pty Ltd
Safety Environment & Training Manager
City of Maribyrnong
ITEM 1. WELCOME BY THE CHAIR, APOLOGIES & CONFIRMATION OF DRAFT AGENDA
Robin Expressed a brief welcome to everyone. George Horman was an apology.
As Colleen is not feeling well we will suspend the agenda and give Colleen the floor.
Colleen Robin asked me to attend tonight to discuss what had happened in parliament in terms of the motion I put up around Community Alerting which while the motion was successful it has been a complete and utter failure since; the minister has refused to meet with myself or with any of the residents. As far as we can ascertain the government does not intend doing anything about Community Alerting they are wanting a national process and will be discussed again at the National Police and Emergency Services meeting in November and it will be on the Agenda but there is no terms of reference and no guidelines about how it is going to happen, none of those things. Theo when he speaks tonight can talk about what council is deciding to do. It is fairly disappointing after the success of the actual motion in parliament that the governments has now gone on to completely and utterly ignore everything that happened out of that incident, it was the agencies who took the West Point incident quite seriously
The incident involved a storage facility on the edge of residential area at Tottenham. One of the main things that went badly wrong was that people were as is standard practice told to shelter inside; that what the fire brigade did not quite realise was that peopleÕs houses were actually filled with chlorine gas.
Colleen The residents were reporting that information on to 000 but 000 has no capacity to pass the information on to the combating agencies so therefore the people were left in a fairly difficult situation.
Yet again council was not informed of what was going on, they set up a place where people could actually go to but residents werenÕt told that there was anywhere that they could go to and so it was just one of these hideous Ònothing worked properlyÓ situation.
Of course with our community alerting system we had no way of telling residents
Unfortunately if we have another incident like this next week probably the same thing will happen.
Council are actually forging ahead with council alerting system, which I think is really good but do not think council should have to do it, I think it should be a state government responsibility.
Robin Thank you for that. Yes I have a copy of your paper and I thought it was extremely informative and well presented. Found it quite refreshing to read. Theo has kept us advised on what council has been doing. In fact after our last meeting the committee wrote to the council and complimented them on the work they had been doing and the initiative they had taken because in the context of the state government saying they will support it but they want it to be a federal issue with federal funds and put it through COAG. City of Maribyrnong is fairly brave to say they are going to do it on their own.
Deborah It is annoying that a working class council has to fund such a program when it should be state government.
Colleen The fire brigade did learn lessons from the Tottenham incident and were extremely honest with the community at the community meetings. They just donÕt know if exactly the same things are going to happen again.
Deborah I remember when a mock exercise was conducted the same things happened.
Colleen The solutions are there, the technology is there just a lack of will, a lack of will by the state government.
Deborah For me it has far more ramifications than just chemical fires, bush fires are also a major concern.
Colleen With bush fires it is slightly different as you get several hours lead time to make a decision.
Theo Our own feeling is that people are more concerned with the day to day concerns such as getting trucks off the road, too noisy at night and those sort of things.
Robin Carlo was involved at Geelong with meetings on this very subject held at the emergency services headquarters with the community members. The CFA are very concerned about bush fires and they seem to have a good conceptual handle on what was needed with regard to bush fires. With regard to chemical fires there seemed to be a vacuum of information. Residents are concerned there was no understanding; there was a real need to communicate, to give people some reassurance.
Theo Since the West Point issue council has felt introducing a single number for all incidents would be a good thing. There is a commitment at state government level through the Office of the Emergency Services Commissioner, whom is preparing a business case to put to the government on implementing a community information line or number. Do not have timelines or anything like that at this stage.
Colleen I will follow that one up.
Theo Passed around a letter from the Attorney General regarding a nationwide emergency community warning system
Robin That would be a good start. Thank you Colleen for attending and it is great that the community has you in parliament. No action from us at this stage is necessary.
Confirmation of draft agenda - adopted
ITEM 2. CONFIRM DRAFT MINUTES FOR THE MEETING 12 JUNE 2008 AND REVIEW ACTION ITEM LIST
Draft Minutes of the 12 June 2008 adopted.
Robin It may be of interest to know that we have received nothing in writing from the Port of Melbourne Corporation in response to the media release or 3 action items.
09/07-2 Remaining open until EPA are in a position to make a report. I donÕt suppose that has happened yet Quentin?
Quentin Only that it is still under investigation.
06/08-1, 06/08-2, 06/08-3
Relating to the Port Of Melbourne Corporation, nothing has happened on those
06/08-7 Inspection of all valves with rubber couplings similar to the one that failed were inspected and found to be in good working order.
06/08-8 Complete. Theo has sent an electronic copy of the Ministers submission which I have circulated.
06/08 -9 Complete - Robin wrote to council and congratulates the council on its initiative with regard to the telephone messaging service.
ITEM 3. HEAVY METAL MONITORING RESULTS, AND TERMINALS REQUEST TO EPA FOR AN AMENDMENT TO THE MONITORING REQUIRED.
Carlo Presented graphs showing heavy metal readings
The results were taken from the different bore holes around the site.
Robin Was there any result that stuck out?
Carlo No the results appear to be all over the place.
Geoff Heavy metals are awkward to get a reading from, the results show a general decrease and elevated readings are generally a Òone offÓ.
Robin Are they any where near a critical level or are they well down?
Carlo No the results jumped all over the place
Ian If the results showed a definite flow it would make more sense.
Geoff We are talking very low levels here very low numbers in the perspective of things.
Ian What is the criteria of the waters?
Geoff Fresh and marine waters
Robin Carlo have you made any progress with the EPA.
Quentin There is an established groundwater management plan. Proposed that on going analysis of these heavy metal bores was not really beneficial so Carlo requested that they might like to stop doing them.
Robin How much is it costing Carlo?
Geoff They are fairly cheap, the major thing is that Terminals does not impact on heavy metals. It not something that is going to change a lot with time, but the big issue is we are trying to focus on what Terminals can impact on within the site, and make sure there are no adverse affects on the ecosystem. Heavy metals are just a nuisance that does not add any value to us or the authorities and in the event becomes meaningless to Terminals.
Ian Suggest we see if Terminals is prepared to have this information put on the website.
Robin I am forming a view that while it is great to have the openness to providing the data the data itself is meaningless. EPA taking no particular notice of the data. Could well be a case of getting data for data sake. More inclined to put meaningful data on website as this not really going to affect anything.
Bro I think there is arguably a genuine public good to have the data on the website. I think it really is the Port of Melbourne Corporation responsibility to present the information. I do not see it as being Terminals responsibility.
Quentin On the other side of the river Whitehall side contribution there was not a major concern. Similar sort of history, the conclusion at the time was that the flows are not big enough to pose a major threat, were not significant and not having a big impact.
Deborah Arsenic was a concern wasnÕt it?
Quentin Arsenic was a concern on the Whitehall Street side as there were particular hot spots and those hot spots were best dealt with by remediation. There is still a lot of ongoing work on removing arsenic and mercury which are all subject to a major clean up.
Robin There has been big money spent on this hasnÕt there?
Quentin 10Õs of millions of dollars already
Deborah Who has spent it?
Quentin The Port of Melbourne Authority
Faye Given that any of these heavy metals are going to be consumed they are usually consumed as a load by marine life so the total level load would probably be approaching significance.
Robin What is Coode Island contributing to the heavy metals in the bay?
Quentin What the auditor was looking at was the health of the river not so much the health of the bay. The movement of water in and out of the bay and the movement of contaminants out of the bay. The water is getting refreshed to some extent.
Robin Faye's question was how much of the Coode Island heavy metals is contributing to or what sort of impact to the bay. Is Coode Island significant compared to what is happening on the other side of the river?
Quentin My take on that is the other side looks worse than this side. Contribution from Coode small amount of metal gets into the rather large flow of the river.
Faye Is there any likelihood of being able to eat fish from the Maribyrnong River?
Theo Yes but there are safety warnings near the river for pregnant women and the like. One meal a week would be sufficient. There are signs.
Robin Carlo would that be of any difficulty for Terminals if the information was put on the website?
Action Carlo to select 5 graphs and send to Robin with a sentence or two that gives them relevance and puts them in context. Detailing that such monitoring has been done for the past 5 years.
Ian In fairness to Carlo what we have now been talking about has to be approved by George. The issue with heavy metals in groundwater is as I understand it is that once you have established there are heavy metals in ground water above the criteria, the next thing to do is to establish the source of heavy metals and deal with that source.
Ian What is known about concentrations about heavy metals in the soil at the site on the West side?
Peter The West side is more natural
Ian Is there any data, because invariably this is why groundwater is analysed as it can move offsite.
Geoff Just as criteria for soil compared to groundwater levels the groundwater levels are extremely sensitive.
Quentin Might be useful to keep monitoring near the water edge. Suggest annual monitoring around the 5 sites around the water edge.
Deborah Has any monitoring been done closer to the West Gate bridge. I know it is not relevant to this committee but I think the fishermen that fish there every day should have the warnings in Vietnamese.
ACTION Theo to report back on signs warning fishermen regarding contamination of the marine life.
Ian Current metals analysis in the groundwater is not an EPA requirement but a self imposed activity. I think it would be good to continue. Once a year is not that vigorous an activity.
Faye Would be a point of interest once the dredging has finished.
Michael Thankful to Terminals having an undertaking to analyzing the groundwater samples for some 5 years and not having found anything. Monitoring of limited number of bores next to river would on an annual basis would be a good thing.
Michael Is there any monitoring on Port of Melbourne Corporation territory?
Quentin Port of Melbourne Corporation monitoring was presented at the last meeting. Terminals site has a history of industrial use.
Michael In what form are the metals found?
Geoff Ionic form.
Summary There was general agreement that QuentinÕs proposal for Terminals to continue monitoring heavy metals for about 5 sites on the perimeter of their site.
ITEM 4. REPORTS FROM AGENCIES AND TERMINALS
Peter Bentley tanks are now in and bases have been extended upwards.
Drug and Alcohol Policy – Random breathalyzer tests are being conducted.
Quarterly Orica and Exxon meetings went okay
Shell conducted HS&E audit of site, went okay stated Terminals were very competent.
Faye Drug & Alcohol Policy is it .05 for alcohol and 0 for drugs?
Peter Yes we spoke to the solicitors and gained their advice with the limits.
Deborah Not speaking in a legal sense, just talking practically. If we made it less than .05 what right have you say I can drive a car so why canÕt I load chemicals.
Peter A truck driver has to be 0, we followed the Australian Standards.
Geoff It is a big initiative.
Peter Competency Assessments are being completed again renewing after five years.
Safety & Environment – 5 incidents
1. Whilst loading road tanker the male API coupling on compartment leaked when disconnected.
2. Whilst loading road tanker compartment overfilled into the vapour recovery duct.
3. Combustor was not working when operators came to work. Unable to start till 9:15am which prevented truck loading
4. Whilst loading into road tanker leak was detected underneath compartment
5. Wharf hose leaked during ship unloading
Deborah It is interesting that 3 out of the 5 incidents were caused by trucks.
Peter Unfortunately we have no control over trucks.
Deborah Does the EPA have control over trucks?
Quentin Trucks come under the Dangerous Goods transport regulations
Peter Tankers are tested every year
Paul Concern to me
Peter I would be more concerned if incidents happened off site.
Robin To what extent does the EPA have a concern on the maintenance of trucks?
Quentin Worksafe is responsible for dangerous goods and their transportation
Deborah There is a potential for a major incident with trucks, more so than from Terminals.
Quentin There is more risk from trucks than anything else. More concerned from an EPA point of view of a hose failure.
Peter We will be conducting a visual inspection of the hose and investigating the cause. The hose was pressure tested prior to connecting to ship. Worksafe check the hose pressure testing records .
Quentin It gets to a point where material passes its use by date.
Paul The hoses are replaced every 10 years
Action 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.
Peter No environmental problems. Will report back next month on environmental monitoring during the burning of waste in the combustor.
Peter We are investigating turning the combustor off during the night. A Modification Form is to be raised prior to conducting tests.
ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AUTHORITY
Quentin Not much to report tonight.
As far as Coode Island is concerned business as usual.
Well advanced with EPA restructuring. The restructure is not meant to cause any major level of staff numbers but more for providing better customer service. More focused towards energy resource efficiency with a reduction in red tape.
EPA has concerns about the movement of waste interstate.
Peter How did the dead fish incident go?
Quentin A small number of dead fish were found and EPA could not determine cause. The fish were found at the back of the Newport Power Station where the warm cooling water is released into the river.
Ian Was reported of cars being retrieved from the river.
Quentin The EPA was concerned about the spill of oil into the river but found it was not having an adverse impact on the river itself.
CITY OF MARYIBYRNONG
Theo Community Awareness Communication – 16,000 copies printed.
Mayor wants another paragraph about keeping in contact with your neighbors.
The initiative so far has been cost effective - $30,000 together with the EPA, Port of Melbourne Corporation and Terminals who have all contributed financially to make it a sustainable initiative.
It will be interesting to see what level of interest will be generated out in the community.
The information given is more geared towards where to turn for information and is a springboard to get the community on the alert telephone system.
Michael With regards to the initial telephone contact. When people ring the council how many people can get through at the one time?
Theo There are 20 inward lines which flicks over to an after hours service which has more lines. We do not have all the answers or resources but what we do have is a point of call.
Ian I think it is brilliant. Council is very welcome to approach CICCC to contribute to such endeavorsÕ in the future.
Theo The council would have no problem with presenting the information through all the community groups we deal with.
Ian Are the contributors acknowledged on the pamphlet
Theo Yes they are together with those that have provided support.
NEXT SCHEDULED MEETINGS:
Meeting dates for 2008 – 6th November, 2008.
MEETING CLOSED 8:30 PM