PLANS are being made to fumigate logs at a Spotswood site - between Scienceworks and Newport homes - with a lethal gas banned in many OECD countries.
Container Fumigation Services has already set up its methyl bromide operation at 407Douglas Parade, about 250metres from the edge of Newport's residential area.
The company says it is fumigating offsite pending the result of a planning application to Hobsons Bay Council.
Methyl bromide is a colourless, odourless pesticide that has been linked to death in humans and and has phased out by other nations under an international protocol on ozone-depleting substances.
The state government compulsorily acquired CFS's former land at 1 Joseph Road, Footscray, for the Regional Rail Link. It's understood the company received government support to move to Hobsons Bay.
Regional Rail Link Authority deputy director Amanda Correy said she could not comment on that due to "privacy considerations". Concerned resident Charmian Gaud said there were fears about emissions from the site.
"Not only is its proximity to Newport residential dwellings an issue if carbon monoxide is emitted, but Scienceworks, where children attend every day of the week, is only 250metres from the edge of the site," she said.
A report to the council, which forms part of CFS's planning application, states residents living next to the proposed fumigation site may be concerned about methyl bromide "reaching them in quantities that may be harmful".
The report by Sydney-based Peter Meadows, who holds a bachelor of science degree, states the nearest house is 324metres away in Hobson Street.
He stated that in his opinion there would be "no health or safety risk to residents in nearby areas or to workers in the adjacent [Newport Shell] refinery".
In August 2010, the Weekly reported residents were alarmed at plans to use methyl bromide about 200 metres from Altona homes.
Viking Express Transport had subcontracted the then-Footscray-based CFS to treat logs destined for China. The illegal operation, being carried out without a planning permit, was shut down after our exclusive report.
New Zealand's maritime union became part of a coalition against the use of methyl bromide - which is banned in parts of Australia - after six port workers died from motor neurone disease.
Williamstown MP Wade Noonan said he suspected the council would "seek an expert opinion regarding whether the use of methyl bromide poses any risk to nearby residents".