Environmental Management of New Projects
Prior to any new project at the port, a risk assessment is conducted to identify potential environmental impacts and ensure appropriate management has been implemented.
Customers are required to demonstrate that their proposed activities are in accordance with industry best practice and will not cause environmental emissions in excess of guidelines. The EsPA liaise with regulatory agencies to obtain all necessary environmental approvals.
Recent and Upcoming Dredging Works at the Port of Esperance
The Port of Esperance has natural deep waters that minimise maintenance dredging works and allow access of Cape size vessels to maximise export/import efficiency. The relatively coarse sand in the harbour also avoids impacts to surrounding areas from any dredging works. Dredging works were conducted in mid-2014 in accordance with the commitments made in the required referrals and approvals to state and federal government. The commitments and technical background to these works can be viewed in the attached EIA.
The project was conducted as required by our EIA, with contaminated material of the berth pockets being dredged (no overflow) and piped to land disposal in our reclaim and the cleaner sediments of the turning basin and channel were sent for ocean disposal according to the federal sea dumping permit.
Environmental outcomes of the works were as predicted for turbidity levels and there were no known biological impacts to seagrass or marine mammals. Concentrations of metals in the discharge from the settlement ponds were also acceptable according to the approval. Although lead levels exceeded the trigger values to protect 90% marine species, a Low Ecological Protection Area was declared around the discharge, and these levels of lead dissipated to below the TV to protect 99% marine species within 24 hours of the discharge ceasing. This report is attached below.
A contaminated sites survey of the reclaim area used for disposal of the contaminated sediments was conducted independently and levels of hull anti-foulant, nickel and lead were acceptable and did not pose significant risks to the surrounding environment.
Despite the project successfully avoiding any significant environmental impacts, due to the poor manoeuvrability of the dredge, the project did not achieve the logistical targets of returning the Port to design depths close to the berth structures and removing all the contaminated sediments. A smaller toe line dredge is currently being sought to remove small amounts of residual material close to the berth structures and it is intended to pipe this material according to the previous commitments to the reclaim area for land disposal.