Minister Hoses Down Resident Dust Concerns

Minister Hoses Down Resident Dust Concerns

Western Australia Minister for Environment Bill Marmion

Update On Cockburn Cement

Victor P Taffa

Environment Minister Bill Marmion has moved to reassure City of Cockburn residents that the State Government is taking seriously their concerns about Cockburn Cement.

“It is clear there is ongoing concern from the community about dust and odour emissions from Cockburn Cement Limited’s operations at Munster.” Mr. Marmion said.

“The level of complaints is of concern, which is why the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) reviewed the company’s licence to reduce emissions, dust and odour impacts from the Plant.”

“DEC issued an amended licence to Cockburn Cement on December 20, 2010.  This is currently under appeal. The appeals convener is expected to report to me by the end of this month.” Mr. Marmion said.

 

The amended licence conditions require the company to install a bag filter on Kiln 6 by March 2012, at a cost of about $23 Million. Kiln 6 is considered to be the source of the majority of complaints in relation to the dust and odour emissions.

“For the first time, the new licence includes a requirement for Cockburn Cement to stop the feed of raw material into the relevant kiln where these dust limits are exceeded.” the Minister said.

“Other management action, including the stabilisation of Cockburn Cement lime kiln dust disposal area, has already commenced and sprinkler systems are being installed and hydromulch applied to minimise dust emissions from roads and stockpiles.”

“DEC has directed additional resources to investigate the complaints and has also installed a monitoring video camera to observe emissions from the company’s Munster Plant. This should enable a quicker investigation of emission events.” Mr. Marmion said.

The focus of these efforts is the North Quarry and the lime kiln dust disposal area.  All the haul roads leading to these locations, as well as vehicle turning circles, have automated sprinklers.  Water trucks also dampen the roads throughout the day.

“I expect that the more stringent licence conditions, including the installation of new pollution control equipment, will result in a reduction in dust and odour emissions from this plant.” Mr. Marmion said.

“However, we are closely watching Cockburn Cement and monitoring their emissions and will not tolerate unreasonable impacts on the community.  I am aware of recent complaints about sulphur odours at Cockburn Cement and have asked DEC to investigate the incident.  I will not hesitate to exercise all my powers under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 if Cockburn Cement is found to be in breach of the Act.”

“Once the report is received from the appeals convener, I will visit the homes of residents in the area and undertake a site visit at Cockburn Cement to ensure a first-hand understanding of community concerns.” Mr. Marmion said.

The Standing Committee on Environment and Public Affairs commenced an inquiry into Cockburn Cement Ltd in September 2010.