17/03/2011 - 00:00

Pressure on at Cockburn plant

17/03/2011 - 00:00

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THE controversy over dust emissions from Cockburn Cement’s operations south of Perth is continuing, with competing claims being made by the state government, the Labor opposition and the company.

Pressure on at Cockburn plant

THE controversy over dust emissions from Cockburn Cement’s operations south of Perth is continuing, with competing claims being made by the state government, the Labor opposition and the company.

Environment Minister Bill Marmion issued a statement last week designed to ease community concerns over the dust emissions at Cockburn Cement.

He acknowledged the level of complaints from the community regarding dust and odour from the plant was a worry.

Mr Marmion said the Department of Environment and Conservation had issued an amended licence to Cockburn Cement in December last year that required it to reduce emissions, dust, and other environmental impacts from the plant.

The amended conditions include the requirement to install a bag filter on the source of the majority of complaints, Cockburn’s Kiln 6, before March 2012, at a cost of $24 million.

“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.”

Mr Marmion said that, for the first time, the licence required Cockburn to stop the feed of raw material into the relevant kiln where dust limits were exceeded.

Cockburn Cement is currently appealing the amended conditions, and the appeals convener is due to report by the end of the month.

“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.

Cockburn Cement last month told local residents around its Munster plant that the filter bag project for Kiln 6 was well advanced.

It said an equipment provider had been selected, and construction would begin over the second half of this year, for completion in early 2012.

Labor member for Cockburn Fran Logan challenged the government and company to install a second bag filter to the plant.

“If the minister was serious about this issue he would amend the licence conditions to include the installation of a bag-house filter on kiln five,” Mr Logan said.

“If Cockburn Cement can’t agree to this condition, its licence should be withdrawn.”

 

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