The ‘forever’ container terminal – A Quarter of the work done, says NamPort

Reporter: Leandrea Louw

NamPort held a public information sharing session as required by the approved Environmental Management Plan for the new container terminal-on-reclaimed-land project, on Tuesday evening in Walvis Bay. Members of the public were introduced to PS HSE Consultants, the appointed environmental team under the Environmental Management Plan, and an independent contractor. A brief update was also given on the project by NamPort Project Manager, Mr Elzevir Gelderbloem.


container terminal 1


PS HSE Consultants are responsible for ensuring compliance with the Management Plan and sub-plans, monitoring site activities to ensure adherence to NamPort and legal HSE requirements, maintenance and management to the environmental monitoring programme, checking the contractor’s public complaints register and provide feedback, conduct HSE audits and inspections and ensure the

on-site environmental, health and safety incidents are investigated and controls are put in place.

The environmental management plan (EMP) is a legal document which is continuously evaluated and is derived from the environmental impact assessment mandated by the environmental management act 7 of 2007. This document is available to the public and can be found on the NamPort website.

The EMP requirements are the public consultation and disclosure plan, continuous assessment and monitoring plan which includes noise, dust, hydrogen sulphide and turbidity, a waste management plan, hazards management plan which includes ship collision, traffic plan, personal safety, emergency plan, an HIV Action plan, a gender benefit plan, a lagoon moni-

toring plan, and others.

“Checks and balances are indeed in implementation with this project’, Mr Johan Cornelissen, the Occupational Hygienist and team leader of the HSE Consultants team, told those present.

The Noise Management plan focusses on noise sources which include, the so-called batching plant, vehicle movement, dredging operations and welding and cutting operations.

For vehicle management two transport routes were planned to reduce nuisance noise.

Route 1 is from 18th road to 3rd street to the Nam-Port northern gate, and all trucks will use route 1, before 7:30 am and after 19:30 pm. All truck drivers are trained about the speed limits and there are regular inspections on trucks.

Route 2 is along Union street and 5th road to the NamPort South Gate.

Focussing on the Batching plant (concrete plant), the public has  learnt that  the nearest resident is approxi-

mately 70 metres away from the plant in a northern direction and that current noise levels are at approximately 65dB, which is allowable.

The mixing plant has been  housed/covered and the noise is minimised, and the noise levels are monitored by a hand level meter at regular intervals.

The international advance dredgers (which are the cutter section dredgers) and the grab dredger are used to undertake the construction with the advantage of low noise and these comply with the World Health Organisations guidelines.

Dust Management also has its own plan. The dust sources are batching plant and vehicle movement. Regular use of sprinkles on site route and at the washout pits to suppress dust on site. The dust monitoring plan also includes, moni-

toring the area, personal monitoring and investigating controls to improve dust management at the batching plant.

The touchy topic of Hydrogen Sulphide also came under discussion. The very strong smell has  recently had the community up in arms more than once. NamPort has stressed that a contingency plan for H2S for dredging and reclamation is in place. H2S detectors have been placed on the dredger and around the harbour. The dredger and anchor boat is also fitted with several self-contained breathing apparatus.

There are two levels the H2S is being monitored on. When the sensors detect 10bmp of H2S, an alarm will be flashing; if and when the levels reach 15bpm, the HS officers will check to see if the dredging operation can be stopped for a while, to protect their workers from the harmful effects of H2S.

Yesterday evening it was explained that during the starting period of dredging operations, it was done closer to shore, hence the strong smell that upset many residents.

They allege not much of H2S is contained in the soil, and that which is there, is quickly dispersed by the wind. So far no H2S gases have been detected during recent dredging operations, says PS HSE Consultants.

As far as the Water Turbidity Plan, goes, GEO Pollution Technologies are monitoring the turbi-

dity/ suspended solids for Walvis Bay Harbour during the dredging and re-

clamation for the container terminal. Levels are above 150mg/l and it has been proven that there are no negative impacts, to cease dredge operations.

The status of the Waste Management Plan also came in the spotlight.  Solid waste includes building rubble and domestic waste. Waste water includes wash out and spoils from the dredging, also hazardous chemical substances which are hydrocarbons. PS HSE Consultants says all onsite equipment can only be washed at designated washout areas and water used for washout is recycled and stored on site, taken through a sedimentation tank and then pumped into a municipal sewage pipe. Small quantities of used oil is produced and stored in the cabin on the vessels.

An arrangement is made to inform NamPort to collect the waste oil if necessary.

In the event of an oil spill, the Shipboard Oil Emergency Response Manual Procedure shall be followed and refuelling of dredgers shall be undertaken under controlled conditions in port only.

To ensure the general Personal Safety of workers,

safety inductions are done, safety talks are given every Monday, with daily inspections and the main inspection on Fridays. Personal protective equipment is also provided and the equipment is maintained.

Site health, safety and environmental incidents from 2014 to April 2015, included 1 environemtal incident, 1 incident of property damage, 1 near miss, 1 incident of violence and 1 injury.

An emergency plan has been established for environmental incidents like hydrocarbon spills, H2S release, and fire emergency. Drills are always performed and emergency numbers have been established.

An HIV/AIDS programme is currently also being developed in conjunction with Society for Family Health and the Walvis Bay Corridor Group.

Members of public raised numerous concerns over the drill piles operation through the night. Nam-Port admitted the drill piles operation has been taking place through the night, but said that the piles are not hammered in leading to less noise.

Another concern was the congestion and the question was raised, what would happen when a passenger liner arrived in port, during and after the developments.

NamPort explained that the cruise line jetty will connect to the new waterfront development, where passengers will move through the port to the Waterfront. Another concern was of the new access road, which is very close to 5th road,and the disturbance it may cause, and NamPort has confirmed that it is busy with the design of a noise barrier, that residents will see erected in the next two years.

On the question of the life span of the terminal, Mr Gelderbloem, answered ‘forever’, where it will only be the concrete structures that will have to be replaced in 50 years time.