Environmental FAQ's

Taking care of the environment we live and work in is extremely important to us. We take this responsibility seriously and do everything we can to minimise our environmental impact. A key part of this commitment is maintaining strategies that protect our Port’s environment, as well as the many people who work with us and live in the region.

The FAQs below include questions we are often asked about our environmental strategies. If your question is not answered on this page, please contact our Environmental Manager.

1. What is the scope of the Port of Albany’s environmental responsibilities?

Under the WA Port Authorities Act 1999 and the Environmental Protection Act 1986, Albany Port is required to:

  • protect the environment of the port; and 
  • minimise the impact of port activities on that environment.

The Port of Albany achieves these objectives through its Environmental Management Plan and policy.

2. Does the Port have an Environmental License?

The Port of Albany does not hold an Environmental License, as it is no longer a Prescribed Premises, and is therefore not required to. Leaseholders AustSand and Albany Bulk Handling do hold Environmental Licences.

3. Does the Port have an Environmental Management Plan?

Yes. The plan covers all aspects of the Port’s operations and outlines the development standards leaseholders must comply with. It also ensures environmental factors, such as noise, dust and stormwater are considered during port planning, development and operation.

For more information on the Port’s Environmental Management Plan, click here.

4. How do you make sure Port operators and lease holders act in an environmentally friendly manner?

Leaseholders and operators at the Port hold lease and license agreements, which require them to comply with all relevant environmental and occupational health and safety legislation. The Port can take action if conditions are breached by leaseholders or operators. Environmental regulators, such as the Department of Environment and Conservation, may also take action.

5. Why do ships release water at anchor or at berth?

When ships anchor at King George Sound, they conduct an ‘anchor wash’, which is when a ship releases water. A ship does this to clean its anchor and to cool machinery involved in the ship’s anchorage system. During the loading of the ship, ballast water is also discharged. When ships are in ballast, cooling water from its generator can often be seen discharging.

6. How does the Port stop marine pests from being introduced via ballast water?

The Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) is in charge of preventing marine pest incursions in ports around Australia. AQIS requires all ships to:

  • Supply ballast exchange information before they are permitted to berth.
  • Be audited upon arrival to Albany Port.

The Federal and State Governments are also developing a new national system to manage the risk of introduced marine species, which arrive from domestic voyages.

7. Can ships discharge waste water into the harbour?

No. Commercial vessels are prohibited from discharging waste water into the harbour. According to the MARPOL convention ships must discharge waste at sea in order to prevent pollution.

8. What happens if oil spills from a ship or the wharf?

Although oil spills are extremely rare at Albany Port, we do have an Oil Spill Contingency and Emergency Response Plan, which is overseen by the Harbour Master. We also regularly run training and exercise programs with the Department of Transport.

9. What are those lines that look like oil slicks in the harbour?

These lines are not oil slicks, and often form for a number of reasons. Sometimes, wind, tidal conditions and variations in water temperature cause bands of water, which do look similar to slicks. Fresh water that comes into the harbour can have the same effect. As does dust from grain loading activity, which sometimes settles on the water. In the warmer months, blue green can algae form, which can look like a slick too.

10. Is the Port dredged?

Sometimes maintenance dredging is performed to ensure the Port’s berths and channel are at safe depths. Capital dredging and reclamation also happens for new developments and large projects. Capital dredging is vital to port development and a common activity in ports around the world. All of the dredging performed at Albany Port complies with the State Environmental Protection Authority and the Commonwealth Department of Environment.

11. What happens to dredge spoil at Albany Port?

This depends on what is being dredged. Sometimes, dredge spoil is used to reclaim areas of land – the woodchip berth at Albany Port is an example of this. Other times it is used as landfill. When there is an excess of dredge spoil it must be disposed of at sea. Before this happens, an application to the Commonwealth must be made.

12. Is dust from the silica sand stockpile a health risk?

No. All silica sand at Albany Port is processed at the mine site in order to remove the size class fraction, which poses a health risk to humans. This makes it safe for storage and transport.

13. How do you stop fertiliser spilling into the harbour during discharge?

Advancements in technology have significantly reduced the possibility of a berthed ship spilling fertiliser into the harbour. If a spill were to occur, we have a highly effective containment system designed to capture the bulk of it. We also maintain strict clean up procedures on board all vessels and on the wharf. No berthed ship is permitted to deliberately spill fertiliser into the harbour.

14. What do you use to treat grain for insects at the Albany Terminal?

Before shipping, Cooperative Bulk Handling (CBH) uses the fumigant phosphine to treat the grain for insects. Phosphine is used across the WA grain growing network, on farms and in grain storages. Only licensed fumigators are able to administer phosphine. 

Phosphine is a non-residual gas, which means WA grain growers maintain a ‘clean and green’ marketing status with international consumers. As a result, WA has an advantage over competitors who use contact pesticides.

For further information on the use of fumigants at the CBH facility, contact 9845 5555.

15. Are chemicals used to treat woodchips at Albany Port?

No. We do not ever use fumigants on woodchips at the Port.

16. How does Albany Port control environmental weeds onsite?

Albany Port has a two-pronged approach to controlling and mitigating weed species. This Weed Management Strategy draws on species-based and site-based control, which aims to reduce the effect of weeds on surrounding bushland. The Denmark Weed Action Group primarily oversees this strategy.

17. Why are there so many pigeons at Albany Port?

Unfortunately, the Port is an ideal habitat for feral pigeons, with grain storage providing a regular feed source for the population. Pigeons are a health and hygiene issue for the port and its leaseholders, which is why we have teamed up with Co-operative Bulk Handling (CBH) to manage the issue. This management strategy involves removing roosts and feed, as well as trapping pigeons, and treating the area with approved alphachloralose (in compliance with the Department of Agriculture and Food).

18. Why does the Port operate at night?

The Port is a 24-hour operation, as it forms an important part of WA’s international trade and shipping. Because of this, our staff and contractors make every effort to minimise the impact of emissions, including noise and lights, on surrounding residential areas.

19. Does Albany Port recycle wastes?

All recyclable paper, plastic, glass and aluminium from the administration building is collected and recycled on a fortnightly basis. Recycling is performed by Cleanaway, on behalf of the City of Albany. Quarantine wastes from shipping is disposed of via deep burial in compliance with AQIS and under their supervision.

20. How can I find out more about environmental issues at Albany Port?

Our Environmental Manager is the best person to speak with about the Port’s approach to environmental issues. You can contact Paul Mackey on 9382 9000 or at paul.mackey@albanyport.com.au.