(Photo of Mobil Altona Refinery in May 2010 during an emergency shutdown – Photo by Arlene Sachon/Hobsons Bay Weekly)
Mobil will be conducting scheduled maintenance work on one of the main process units at the Altona Refinery for 20 days commencing 22 April 2013.
The maintenance work will occur at the refinery on a 24 hour basis and will result in an increase in flaring, additional noise and odours from the refinery.
I appreciate the work is part of Mobil’s 2013 maintenance program, but it seems incredible to me that Mobil will be permitted to emit unacceptable noise and smells over a three week period.
If you would like any more information, contact Mobil’s 24-hour Community Hotline on 1800 659 527.
If you experience unacceptable noise or smells from the refinery, please keep a record of the time and date, and call the EPA immediately on EPA Pollution Watch (24 hour line): 9695 2777 or 1300 372 842
Mobil’s recent history….
Mobil’s operations in Hobsons Bay have a poor record in recent years, prompting many residents to be concerned about their safety and the safety of the local environment.
2004 to 2006 (clean up still ongoing)
Mobil leaked unleaded petrol from its pipeline under Champion Road, Newport for two years from December 2004. The leak was only detected after residents became aware of a strong petrol odour. Some residents reported feeling unwell and petrol was also discovered in the water supply of a nearby commercial property.
The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court ordered Mobil to pay $350,000 to fund local environmental projects and pay the EPA $160,000 in costs.
Mobil Altona had a fire in one of its laboratories which took about 40 firefighters and nine trucks to take under control.
An ageing 10 million litre fuel tank at Mobil Altona leaked fuel causing an emergency situation as reported in the metropolitan and local media (see below). The facts of this incident include:
- •The spill was estimated by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade as being approximately 30,000 litres of fuel.
- •The area surrounding the tank was covered in foam as a precaution.
- •The tank contained 3.5 million litres of volatile fuel when it leaked.
- •The MFB had 60 firefighters on site, including 8 pumpers, 1 rescue unit, 1 aerial unit and 4 other units in response to this incident.
- •The leak occurred at 11:47pm on 8 February and took over 16 hours for the tank to be emptied.
Emergency services were called to respond to a gas leak at the Mobil Altona Refinery at 7am on 4 March 2010. The gas supply to the plant was shut off and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade declared the situation under control just after 7.30am.
A power outage at around 8.30pm on 16 May resulted in the refinery going into “safe mode” resulting in significant flaring which many residents described as explosions and large fires at the plant. The flares could be seen from as far as Tarniet, and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade responded with four trucks and 16 firefighters. The flaring continued for some time, but the incident was declared safe at 10pm.
WorkSafe Victoria imposed new conditions on Mobil’s licence to operate in Altona due to “persisting health and safety incidents since the facility was last licensed in 2007. The refinery has also been reporting more incidents than other facilities of a similar size”.
WorkSafe’s media release dated 3 June 2010 states:
- The objective of imposing licence conditions is to prompt Mobil to identify any shortcomings in their safety inspection and maintenance systems, and rectify them before incidents have a chance to occur,” Acting Executive Director for Health and Safety Stan Krpan said.
- The new licence conditions will come into force from later this month, and will last until December 2012.
- By November this year, Mobil has to meet a number of specific conditions. These will need to be demonstrated to WorkSafe through written evidence and inspections:
- Analyse past incidents to identify the causes, and address causes through improvements to safety inspection and maintenance systems demonstrate that these improvements mean the risk of incidents (such as leaks or spillage) is significantly reduced.
- “We’re interested in getting Mobil to identify what isn’t working, and fix it,” Mr Krpan said.
- “It will mean that Mobil will need to put more time and effort into safety inspection and maintenance.
- “Meeting these licence conditions will mean that Mobil is reducing the risk of incidents at the refinery, and safely managing any incidents that do happen.
- “Victoria’s regulations for major hazard facilities are the strongest in the country. We expect Mobil to comply. The local community deserves the assurance that these issues will be better managed,” he said.
5 February 2011
Mobil Altona Refinery were forced to clean up a fuel leak from their refinery into the Kororoit Creek.
10 February 2011
Mobil Altona Refinery lost power again, resulting in an emergency shut down process including flaring.
Mobil refinery in Yarraville has been widely blamed as the cause of a gas odour across Melbourne on 11 May 2011, resulting in evacuations of buildings.
23 April 2013
Mobil Altona Refinery leaked fuel into the street…
22 June 2013
Mobil Altona Refinery had another fuel leak from an underground pipe near Churchill St, Williamstown North.