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CFA officers wearing breathing apparatus plan their next move at the source of the liquid pitch leak.AUTHORITIES will continue to monitor an ongoing leak at the Port of Portland as the city returned to normal yesterday.
苏州美甲培训学校

Many residents emerged from their houses for the first time yesterday morning, after being instructed not to go outside or open their windows during a lockdown over the weekend.

No one has been injured or reported any ill effects from the leak of about 300 tonnes of liquid pitch from a Koppers Australia storage facility on Madiera Packet Road.

The material emits a potentially toxic vapour, but six air-testing devices around Portland have yet to detect any emissions. The CFA was expected to do further testing yesterday afternoon.

The cause of the leak won’t be known until the 4000-tonne storage tank can be fully drained, but Port of Portland chief executive Jim Cooper said “a small leak was repaired about 10 days ago at the site where it’s now leaking”.

“Initially there was a leak and it was repaired and then another leak has appeared below the first one,” Mr Cooper said.

“We’re already planning an investigation with Koppers Australia as to why it’s happening.”

To empty the tank, the liquid pitch, which is used in the smelting of aluminium, will have to be emptied.

The ship that delivered it — the Rathboyne — is expected to arrive from Newcastle tomorrow night, with engineers tasked with finding a way to pump the 170 degree Celsius liquid back into the vessel.

Meanwhile, the Port of Portland was counting the cost following a day-and-a-half of total closure.

Mr Cooper said it was hard to gauge the total cost of the leak of about 300 tonnes of liquid pitch and the resulting shutdown.

“In value of cargo, it might be in the millions of dollars,” Mr Cooper said.

“It’s going to affect all of us — the port and the companies — because we’ve been having record business at the moment in terms of volume. It will be a week’s trade we’ve lost completely, although I’m being overly cautious (with that estimate) because it’s inevitable with something as messy as this (that it takes a while).”

He said the port had partially reopened and was running at about 60 per cent capacity. Shipping is still suspended and limited truck deliveries are running.

The company hit hardest by the leak is Graincorp, which has been moving about 25,000 tonnes of grain a week and running at 100 per cent capability, Mr Cooper said. It now has two trainloads sitting just 30 metres downwind from the leaking tank, unable to be moved.

But Mr Cooper said any losses incurred by the shutdown may be able to be recouped.

“Even if we’ve lost a week of trade we might be able to speed up and catch up again. It’s hard to quantify. It might just be a deferral of business.”

However, businesses in Portland’s CBD that were forced to stay closed on Sunday won’t be so lucky. Bentinck Street cafe Port Of Call was unable to open on Sunday, along with many other businesses in streets that were blocked as a precaution.

“Sunday’s usually one of our busiest days,” part-owner Cheryl Cawthorne said yesterday, reckoning their losses would have been close to $3000.

She said it had been a slow start on Monday.

“Mondays are quieter but there was a bit of an eerie feeling.”

Seaview Real Estate is also suffering from the fallout.

With authorities unable to say how long the leak will last, the real estate company has been forced to pull the plug on a planned 13-property auction that was to have taken place on Thursday at the Portland Angling Club, which lies just a stone’s throw from the port and within the exclusion zone that was blocked to traffic and pedestrians during the weekend.

Seaview Real Estate director Allan Barrett estimated the company had spent close to $10,000 in promoting and preparing for the mass auction.

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