Dalby community information

Dalby community information

Advice for neighbours of Incitec Pivot Limited's Dalby site.

This information has been prepared by Incitec Pivot Limited (IPL) to provide information to those who live or work near the Incitec Pivot Fertilisers BIG N depot at Moonie Highway, Dalby.

If you require further information after reading this document, please contact the site on 07 46623366 or IPL's Corporate Affairs department on 03 8695 4400.

In line with our commitment to the local community, the Incitec Pivot Fertilisers Dalby site would like to inform you of the site’s present operational status. Notably, the site no longer stores anhydrous ammonia exceeding regulatory limits and has ceased the distribution of ammonia. Despite this change, the site retains its Major Hazard Facility license, indicating the continued adherence to all necessary safety protocols.

Rigid regulations control the handling and storage of this material and detailed emergency plans are in place to manage any incident. Nevertheless, it is possible that an unplanned incident on site could create a health hazard for those who live or work near our site or visit the area. The company takes the safety and the interests of its employees and neighbours extremely seriously. For this reason, we are committed to advising the community what to do in the event of an emergency that may have impacts beyond the site.

Dalby Site Details

The Incitec Pivot Fertilisers (IPF) Ammonia Storage (Big N®) Depot located at 340 Moonie Highway, Dalby in Queensland, is classified as a Major Hazard Facility (MHF) due to the chemicals stored on-site, associated processes, and potential Major Incident Events that could potentially occur. Initially established around 1970 as a fertiliser storage and distribution facility, the site originally housed one anhydrous ammonia vessel with a 100-tonne capacity, later adding a crop chemical storage facility in 1992, which has since been decommissioned. Over the years, the facility underwent upgrades, including the installation of an additional anhydrous ammonia vessel in 1995 and a comprehensive upgrade in 2002. Incitec Pivot Fertilisers historically supplied anhydrous ammonia under the BIG N brand for agricultural and various industrial and mining purposes, having a notable presence in the local farming community for several years. However, recent operational adjustments have resulted in the site ceasing its handling and storage of ammonia.

About Ammonia

Ammonia is classified as a Dangerous Good under Australian law and international conventions. It is a clear liquid or gas with a penetrating, irritating and strong-smelling odour, much like the smell of domestic cloudy ammonia cleaning products.

Its strong odour means that it is readily noticed at levels well below those which would cause any lasting health effects. In the event of a large leak or spill, because of ammonia’s pungent smell ammonia vapours may be noticed some distance from site (up to four kilometres for a large release), as well as potentially causing discomfort to those nearby.

Symptoms of exposure can range from breathing difficulties to irritation of the eyes which causes tears to form. There are no known long-term effects of exposure to lower levels of ammonia. However, in extreme circumstances, ingestion of concentrated ammonia fumes can cause serious injury or even be fatal.

Our Safety Framework

All IPL sites operate under a strict framework of federal, state and local government safety and environmental regulations. The company has procedures and controls in place to meet regulatory requirements.  At Dalby, Incitec Pivot Fertilisers operates according to a prescribed Safety Management System which is designed to meet the requirements of Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation. Stringent safety plans remain in place, prepared to manage a range of potential emergencies, despite the cessation of ammonia operations, including a chemical release or fire.

Even though the site no longer stores ammonia surpassing regulated thresholds, the maintenance of Major Hazard Facility status signifies IPL's dedication to sustaining a robust safety culture and preserving an exceptionally high standard of safety measures at the Dalby facility. The WHS legislation regulates MHFs to minimise the likelihood of accidents at these sites and to limit adverse impacts. It imposes safety obligations on those involved with the storage and handling of hazardous materials.

The site may, in the future, be required to store limited quantities of ammonia, not exceeding regulatory limits. These quantities, kept within permissible limits, will be managed with utmost care, adhering strictly to safety protocols. This operational adjustment is solely for internal manufacturing processes and does not involve the distribution of ammonia to external entities.

In alignment with potential business strategies, Incitec Pivot Limited (IPL) may consider a return to full ammonia distribution capacity. Should such a change be under consideration, IPL is committed to informing regulatory bodies and the local community well in advance. This proactive measure ensures that robust safety protocols and measures are established and communicated effectively, allowing for a safe and secure transition. IPL’s commitment remains unwavering in prioritizing the safety and well-being of the community throughout any operational adjustments.

Emergency Response

It's crucial to note that despite the site's transition to care and maintenance, emergency response plans are still intact and designed to manage various potential incidents, aiming to minimize community impact.

Once activated, the detailed site emergency plans will guide IPL’s immediate response to any incident, which may include advising neighbours if necessary. Minimising the potential for impact on the community is a key part of the plans, which cover potential incidents including fire, nitrogen gas release, chemical spill or leak, bomb threat and natural disaster. In extreme circumstances, the site and possibly the surrounding area may be evacuated.

We trust this update offers clarity on the current operational status of our Dalby site. The safety and well-being of our neighbours and community continue to be of utmost importance.