Jan 4, 2010

Our Latest Projects






Orica received approval for the expansion of the Ammonium Nitrate Production Facility at Kooragang Island on 1 December 2009. The project involves the expansion of the existing Ammonia Plant and the installation of a new Nitric Acid Plant and Ammonium Nitrate Plant. Ammonium Nitrate production at the facility will increase from current levels of around 430,000 tonnes per annum to some 750,000 tonnes per annum.

The site operates twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days a week.

Atkins Acoustics prepared the noise impact assessment for the project. The assessment included evaluations to identify and quantify sources contributing to noise from the existing and expanded plants.

The Stockton peninsula was identified as the residential area most likely to be
exposed to noise from the proposal. Attended monitoring at Stockton confirmed that the
existing ambient noise environment is controlled by local sources including road traffic,
waterway activities and idustrial sources from Kooragang Island and Carrington.

Attended and unattended monitoring confirmed the existing ambient background noise levels in accordance with the requirements of the DECCW, INP and establish project specific noise assessment goals.

A site noise model was prepared to assist in determining Orica’s contribution to the ambient noise and ranking noise sources.The modeling identified that noise from the proposed expansion project satisfied the project specific noise goals.

The main operational noise sources associated with the project include compressors, pumps, fans, valves, gas flow through pipe work and venting. To ameliorate noise impacts, the following design strategies have been incorporation into the project.

  • individual purpose built acoustic enclosures;
  • a purpose built compressor building;
  • low noise rated valves;
  • low noise rated fans and blowers;
  • insulated pipe work; and
  • selection of plant to limit noise emissions.

Noise from construction activities was modelled and predicted to satisfy the project noise assessment objectives (LA10, 15 min 50-53dBA). Ground vibration associate with pile driving during construction is predicted to be in the order of 0.45mm/sec at 100-150 metres and the risk to damage at residential properties was considered negligible.

Atkins Acoustics has been engaged by Orica to provide design advice and certification during construction and commissioning in addition to the ongoing site Pollution Reduction Program.


On behalf of the Australian and NSW Governments, the Roads and Traffic Authority of NSW (RTA) received approval to construct the Hunter Expressway between the F3 Freeway and Branxton. The expressway would provide about 40 km of new dual carriageway. The project was assessed and determined under Part 5 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (the EP&A Act). It is within the Cessnock, Lake Macquarie, Maitland and Singleton local government areas.

In June 1995, Connell Wagner (1995) finalised the environmental impact statement (the EIS) for the RTA. Atkins Acoustics prepare the Operational and Construction Noise Impact Assessment for the EIS. The RTA commissioned Atkins Acoustics to undertake additional studies, including two (2) detailed route selection option studies between Allandale and Greta in 1998 and 2000.

The Director-General of the then National Parks and Wildlife Services granted concurrence
subject to 15 Conditions on 3 October 2001. The then Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning approved the project on 7 November 2001, subject to 129 conditions. On 1 August 2005, the Minister’s approval became a project approval under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979  (EP&A Act). At the request of the RTA, the Minister modified the approval on 31 July 2006 to permit staged construction.

The operational noise assessment goals adopted for the project were LAeq,15hr 55 and LAeq,9hr  50 at 1m from residential building facades, in accordance with the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW), Environmental Criteria for Road Traffic Noise (ECRTN). Maximum highway truck noise levels (LAmax) were addressed in accordance with the protocol in the RTA Environmental Noise Management Manual (ENMM).

For the assessment of noise from the combined heavy and light vehicle rest areas at Branxton and Buttai, the DECCW Environmental Noise Control Manual’s (ENCM) recommendations were adopted. For stationary noise sources including refrigerated trucks, the assessment goal adopted was the LAeq,15min level should not exceed the background level by more than 5dB(A). For night-time transient activities from trucks accelerating or deceleration and air brakes, the project  assessment goal adopted was that the 95th percentile LA1,1min level should not to exceed the background level by more than 15dB(A).

Conceptual noise control options considered included acoustic barriers/earth mounds, provision of acoustic treatments to the affected dwellings and property acquisitions. The final selection of traffic noise mitigation will be dependent on feasibility and practicality assessments, secondary factors such as visual effects, together with consultation with community, affected property owners and relevant authorities.

As part of the NSW Government long term plan to reduce road traffic noise, strategies
being considered include the control of noise from individual vehicles, programs to monitor and control noisy vehicles and the control engine brake noise. The progressive and effective implementation of these programs will assist in further reduction of road traffic noise.



Atkins Acousticsprovided acoustic design advice for the discount retailer ALDI to develop its new 12000 square metre distribution centre at Prestons in South-Western Sydney. The facility includes dry goods storage and cool-house areas accommodating ALDI's expansion into chilled fresh produce. The new facility was designed and developed to support some 100 retail stores.

The acoustic investigations and advice included planning studies for the project approvals, design development and compliance auditing. The facility has approval to operate with the receival and dispatching of trucks 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.



The AGL Gloucester project includes for the collection, compression and piping of coal seam gas from the Gloucester region to Hexham, Newcastle.

Atkins Acousticswas commissioned by AECOM on behalf of AGL to conduct an operational and construction noise and vibration impact assessment of the project. The main study area was centered around the township of Stratford. The Petroleum Exploration Licence 285 (PEL 285) area extends approximately sixty (60) kilometers north to south and approximately twenty (20) kilometres east to west. The preferred pipeline corridor is approximately one hundred (100) metres wide and ninety-five (95) kilometres long. The corridor extends from a central processing facility to the proposed Hexham delivery station.

The main components of the project include the:

  • Gas Field Development Area (GFDA); the gas production development within the PEL285;
  • Central Processing Facility (CPF); the facility compresses and dehydrates the gas;
  • Gas Transmission Pipeline; the high-pressure gas transmission pipeline from Stratford to Hexham; and
  • Hexham Delivery Station (HDS) - a pressure reduction and distribution station.

As part of the acoustic study the envisaged operation and construction activities were
assessed in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW), Industrial Noise Policy (INP),
  • DECCW Interim Construction Noise Guideline (ICNG),
  • DECCW Assessing Vibration: a technical guideline, and
  • Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC), Technical Basis for Guidelines to Minimise Annoyance due to Blasting Overpressure and Ground Vibration.

The operational noise sources associated with the CPF included gas generators, compressors, compressor cooler fans, pumps, fans and valves. The generators and compressors will be housed in individual acoustic enclosures and the compressor fin cooling fans selected on acoustic performance. The results of noise predictions showed that with additional secondary engineering controls the project specific noise goals could be satisfied.

Noise modelling for the HDS showed that the project specific noise goals would be exceeded without the inclusion of secondary noise controls. As part of the detailed design (when final details of the plant and equipment are determined) further assessment of the noise will be undertaken to confirm the extent of noise mitigation required to satisfy the project specific noise goals.

It is not expected that operational LA1, 1 mim noise levels emitted from the GFDA, CPF, gas transmission pipeline and HDS would exceed the DECCW sleep disturbance assessment goals.

The main construction activities envisaged for the project include access track construction, vegetation clearing, drilling, fraccing, trenching, concreting, structure erection, pipe preparation, pipe installation and plant installation. It is proposed that construction activities would generally be restricted to daytime hours. Some well construction works in the GFDA including drilling and preparation for fraccing could occur twenty-four (24) hours a day where noise impacts at residential dwellings can be managed.

The assessment has shown that ground vibration from construction activities can be controlled to levels that would satisfy the recommended project goals and acceptable from both human disturbance and structural damage. With respect to potential blasting activities and airblast/ground vibration impacts, modelling has shown with the control of maximum instantaneous charges (MIC’s) goals recommended by the Australian and New Zealand Environmental Conservation Council (ANZECC) and accepted by the DECCW can be satisfied.

Traffic volumes generated during the operational and construction phases of the project are considered as minimal and predicted to satisfy the ECRTN target noise assessment goals.

To manage environmental noise and vibration impacts during construction, it was recommended that a Noise and Vibration Management Plan (NVMP) be prepared. The NVMP would include a public relations program to inform the community of the project progress and potential noise and vibration impacts during construction.