Victorian EPA Issue Noise Abatement Notice to Origin’s Gas Plant, Port Campbell

RESIDENTS near Origin Energy’s Port Campbell gas plant have won a victory with the Victorian Environment Protection Authority (EPA) issuing a noise abatement notice to the gas plant to undertake noise monitoring.

Credit – Warnambool Standard, 4th February, 2014 by Everard Himmelreich

A number of residents near the gas plant have campaigned for many years against the noise of explosions from large gas flares from the plant that they said were as loud as the sound of a jet fighter.

They said the explosions from the gas flares shook their houses, waking them at night and spooking nearby livestock.

The residents have made numerous noise complaints to the EPA and Corangamite Shire Council, prompting the EPA to last year launch an investigation into which Port Campbell gas plant was responsible for the noise.

Origin Energy’s gas plant on Waarre Road at Newfield, near Port Campbell, is adjacent to another gas plant on Waarre Road operated by Energy Australia.

The Environment Protection Authority undertook noise monitoring during two months last year that confirmed nine occasions where night time noise was above the maximum recommended level of 35 decibels.

A spokesman for Origin Energy said yesterday it welcomed the EPA’s decision to issue the noise abatement notice.

The EPA order “formalises the process for Origin to reassess the compliance of the Otway Gas Plant to licence conditions using alternative methodologies to previous assessments,” the spokesman said.

More details of the EPA’s requirements for Origin regarding noise from its gas plant were unavailable last night.

The chairman of the community reference group for the Origin gas plant, Corangamite Shire councillor Neil Trotter, said he understood the EPA had only recently identified which gas plant near Port Campbell was responsible for the loud explosions.

Cr Trotter said he understood the EPA’s process to initiate noise testing on the gas plants had taken some time because there was a wait for plant upgrades to be completed.

The tests had also been delayed until autumn last year when seasonal conditions were best for testing, he said.

Residents near the Origin gas plant who had protested about the loud noise were unavailable for comment last night.

ehimmelreich@fairfaxmedia.com.au