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Thursday, 12 September 1985
Page: 518

(Question No. 419)


Senator Puplick asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aviation, upon notice, 20 August 1985:

(1) What contingent plans exist for dealing with any environmental damage to the Georges River from either accidental fuel spillages or aircraft accidents at Bankstown airport.

(2) What environmental monitoring is done of water run-off from Bankstown airport to ensure that no fuel or other environmental contaminants escape from storages at the airport into the Georges River.


Senator Gietzelt —The Minister for Aviation has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The Department of Housing and Construction's Report on Water Pollution at Bankstown Airport (1979) advises `the (aircraft) fuelling process is similar to domestic car filling and therefore may involve small spills which could be expected to evaporate before entering any drainage system.'

Procedures for the handling of fuel spillage following an aircraft accident are defined in the department's Airways Operations Instructions. If spilled fuel is unavoidably washed into surface drains, the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board (MWS&B) is immediately notified and any further action taken is by them.

Additionally, given the relatively small volume of fuel storage, and its siting, coupled with the long retention periods of any spills entering the `flat' drainage system, entry of fuel spillages to the Georges River would be highly unlikely.

(2) The State Pollution Control Commission does not conduct regular environmental monitoring of water run-off from Bankstown Airport, but will do so in the event of specific instances of pollution occurring.

Action taken by the Department of Aviation to minimise the likelihood and severity of any pollutants entering the Georges River from Bankstown Airport are:

effluent from the airport is directly connected to the MWS&B's sewerage system.

construction of a special vehicle wash and mechanical parts cleaning area designed to eliminate pollution from this source.

negotiation with Oil Fuel Recovery Systems Pty Ltd for the construction of a centralised waste oil storage tank to be used by all airport tenants. This facility is now nearing completion.

correspondence with all Airport tenants seeking their co-operation to minimise pollution.

The Hawker de Havilland Aircraft Factory which operates within the airport boundaries installed, in 1978, a comprehensive trade waste system whereby effluent flows directly into the MWS&B's sewerage system.