8 August 2017

Page 7


EPA probe into creek fuel spill Stephen Taylor steve@mpnews.com.au UP to 200 litres of diesel fuel spilled from the United Terminals’ Hastings depot into Olivers Creek last week from what is believed to be a damaged pipe flange. Earlier, it was reported that 1001000 litres had escaped from the Barclay Crescent site before the leak was stopped about 1pm on Monday 31 July. United’s COO David Szymczak said the seepage was mostly contained in bunds – protective earth or concrete walls - designed to trap fuel overflows. “All our tanks are in bunded areas but, on this occasion, a small amount – in the 200-litre category – seeped out into an unbunded area,” Mr Szymczak said. The company “called in the experts and emergency services” to help contain the spill – the first at the site since the company took over in 2008. Environment Protection Authority Victoria senior media advisor John Rees said officers found that a “significant volume” of lost fuel was captured by interceptor drains and a trap. A small, unknown amount had flowed into Olivers Creek. “EPA officers observed a clean-up process had taken place, which originally was aimed at protecting the nearby mangroves with booms and surface water removal,” he said. “Significant work has been under-

taken to protect the adjacent mangroves, which appear to have been largely unaffected. No known human health impacts were noted but a strong smell of fuel was present in the immediate area.” Mr Rees said preventative measures remained in place in Olivers Creek under EPA advice and the clean-up was “well advanced”, Friday. He said United Petroleum was “fully cooperating with the EPA”. “Investigations are ongoing into how the spill occurred and the results of that investigation will determine what actions are appropriate,” he said. Port of Hastings CEO Malcolm Geier said after seeing the size and nature of the spill “it was determined that no recovery action was necessary in the bay.”

All about ephemera ITEMS which are collectable but have limited use will be discussed by Amanda Bede, of the Ephemera Society at the next morning coffee meeting of the Hastings-Western Port Historical Society. Ephemera can include things such as tickets, programmes, printed tins, posters and newspapers. The meeting runs 10.15am-midday Thursday, 10 August at Hastings Museum, cnr Marine Pde and Skinner St, Hastings. The $5 entry includes door prize. There will also be a lucky dip raffle and plant sales. For bookings and details call 0490 132 011 or 9781 1141.

Waste not; want not: Pupils tour the Banyan Reserve wetlands last week. Picture: Supplied

Young leaders tackle pollution plight BANYAN Reserve wetlands in Carrum Downs was just the place for 100 young “marine ambassadors” to see and smell the tonnes of rubbish emptied from a gross pollution trap. The pupils – from St Macartans, Mornington, Kunyung, Mt Eliza and Woodlands, Frankston – investigated the trap which is designed to stop stormwater pollutants from being washed down from streets and entering Port Phillip. The wetlands are described by Dolphin Research Institute executive director Jeff Weir as a world-class example of how to treat stormwater pollution. “Litter traps capture the larger pol-

lution,” he said. “The ponds let sediment settle and the plant life takes up many of the soluble pollutants. “In moderate rains, the water will be quite clean by the time it leaves this site and flows into the bay via Kananook Creek. “In big storms, it overflows and everything goes into the bay. Most drains don’t have these systems and empty directly into the creeks and rivers that flow to our bays. “Treatment systems help when they are present, but the best solution is to stop things getting into drains in the first place.” The ambassadors’ experience was part of the Hastings-based Dolphin

Research Institute’s ‘I sea, I care’ school ambassador program. The pupils are trained as peer educators who go back to their schools to share their experiences. The goal is to reduce pollutants entering drains and, ultimately, threatening our marine environment. “The institute is concerned about the link between water quality in the bay and the health of our dolphins,” Mr Weir said. “If it’s not safe for us to swim in our bay after rain, then it’s also not safe for our dolphins either. “We need to do much better.” The DRI is working on a dolphin health study.






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55 Peter Thomson Drive, Fingal 3939 03 5988 2000 www.moonahlinks.com.au Western Port News 8 August 2017


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