The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has raised concerns about potentially toxic emissions if a Newcastle fuel terminal gets approval for a massive expansion.

The Department of Planning is assessing Stolthaven’s application to increase fuel imports from 300 million litres to more than 1 billion litres a year at its facility on the old BHP site at Mayfield.

The EPA is worried about potential emissions of the toxic chemical benzene, after past exceedances.

The authority’s Hunter manager Adam Gilligan said it is crucial a benzene emissions assessment is done, before there is any decision.

“Well benzene is a particularly toxic chemical which can have human health impacts, and it is a known carcinogen to humans,” he said.

“So it is particularly important that the emissions of those sorts of substances are managed carefully.”

Mr Gilligan said any emissions must be managed.

“We’ve seen exceedances that we’re still investigating in relation to throughput of product at the site, and also exceedance of load limits,” he said.

“Now we don’t believe that they have led to concentration limits out in the community, but we’re going to have a careful look at those exceedances, along with their proposals to expand, to make sure that there aren’t impacts on the community.”

Extracted in full from ABC.