Environmental Improvement Plan Case Study

Environmental improvement plans cut waste and water

BlueScope Steel’s Western Port plant has a formalised commitment to environmental management that dates back over 30 years.

The Western Port plant – located on a 700-hectare site at Hastings, Victoria – converts steel slab into hot rolled coil and a range of coated, painted and uncoated steel products, including COLORBOND® steel and ZINCALUME® steel.

The Western Port plant completed its second Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP) in 2006, and has held an accredited Environment Protection Authority (EPA) licence since 1996.

Each EIP commits Western Port to improving its performance across a range of measures, including energy use, water use, waste and recycling.  A key outcome of the last EIP was a 65 per cent reduction in prescribed industrial waste (PIW).  This significant achievement has resulted in PIW being reduced from 4.0 kilograms per tonne of steel produced in 1999 to 1.4 kilograms per tonne in 2006.

This was achieved after implementation of an ISO 14001 Environment Management System and the introduction of a range of waste reduction initiatives.  Key amongst these was the installation of a Filter Cake Drying Plant to better manage residue from the treatment of water used in the steel manufacturing process.  Initiatives were also undertaken in areas such as glove and rag recycling and a partnership was established with a waste service provider.

A key contributing factor to the success of the waste reduction program was the engagement of staff through the establishment of a site-based environmental committee.

Waste water has also been significantly reduced across many process lines at Western Port, largely as a result of measures to reduce water consumption.  For example, Coil Paint Line No. 4 (CPL4) reduced its water consumption by over two-thirds, by introducing improved quench, condensate and pre-treatment control systems.

The plant has also worked hard to educate its employees and help them save water at work and at home.  An employee showerhead exchange program was introduced during the year, in partnership with South East Water, enabling employees to replace their old showerheads with a new water efficient model free of charge.  Water efficient showerheads were also installed across the site.

BlueScope Steel’s Western Port plant is committed to ongoing improvement in its environmental performance.  President of the plant Greg Waters said, “We are proud of our long-term environmental achievements and are pleased to be entering our third five-year Environmental Improvement Plan with the EPA.  Our reductions in prescribed industrial waste to landfill is just one example of where our rigorous pursuit of improvements has delivered savings to our business, the environment and the broader community”.

Western Port recently finalised its third Environmental Improvement Plan with the EPA.  The plan includes ambitious targets for reducing fresh water use, waste water, waste to landfill, and greenhouse and energy intensity.  The EIP also commits Western Port to maintain its certification to ISO 14001, the international environmental management standard.

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