Mayfield-based chemicals manufacturer, Koppers, is investing an estimated $1 million on additional projects this financial year to further improve its operational and environmental performance.
Plant Manager, Nick Moretti said the projects include replacing emergency vents; a back-up furnace to thermally oxidise fumes; a new software system for monitoring plant performance and alarms; further automation of manual fume control valves; and new magnetic, sea- less, fume scrubbing pumps.
“In consultation with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the Koppers’ team is continually improving performance through equipment and systems upgrades as well as better communication with the local community,” Nick said
“We strive to operate in an environmentally responsible manner and will continue to work on improvements to the site.”
Koppers gave its Community Reference Group an update on the projects, listed below, at their March meeting.
Plant neighbours will be updated in the company’s community newsletter, which will be letter box dropped to neighbouring businesses and residents.
The projects include:
- A new $113,000 software system and console to better monitor plant performance and alarms.
- A $100,000 project to enable the plant’s spare hot oil furnace to have capacity to thermally oxidise fumes. The plant’s licence was upgraded by the EPA in 2020 to require that all fumes from the site’s tanks be scrubbed and oxidised prior to emission.
- A $236,000 project to replace existing mechanically sealed pumps with seal-less magnetic drive pumps to further reduce the potential for emissions.
- A $300,000 project to improve the site’s fume control system including fitting fail safe valve actuators to scrubber tanks, automating all manual fume pressure valves and furnace safety shutoff valves and a new fume fan to direct vapours from the Naphthalene Tank Farm to the reboiler.
- A $240,000 Emergency Hatch Replacement project to prevent emergency vent emissions by installing 19 new, and better sealing, vents. This is a first stage, with more stages to follow.
These projects are in addition to the $5 million Koppers spends annually to maintain its Newcastle plant.
Nick said Koppers was continuing its community support as well as minimising community impacts from its operations.
Local refugee support organisation, Zara’s House, now has a BBQ where local women can cook, gather, and share an understanding of various cultures.
The Koppers’ team presented Sister Di, Zara’s House Founder and 2017 Newcastle Citizen of the Year, with the BBQ earlier this year.
People or businesses wishing to find out more about Koppers’ initiatives or to join its Community Reference Group are asked to call their community information line.
IMAGE | Koppers Operations Manager, Nick Moretti at the Mayfield plant.
Koppers Newcastle beneficially reuses coal tar from Australian steelworks to produce coal tar pitch, an essential raw material for Australian aluminium smelters. It also produces carbon black feedstock oil, naphthalene, and timber preservation creosote which are sold domestically and exported. Its Mayfield plant has been successfully operating for more than 50 years and employs around 60 local people.