At Cockburn Cement, we are aware of health concerns arising from our neighbouring residents in relation to emissions from the Munster site. However, our monitoring, testing and modelling program has consistently demonstrated that our emissions are consistently within Western Australian and national health regulations.
Although the Munster Plant has no identifiable adverse health
impact on the local community, an amenity effect is unavoidable due
to the Plant's size, complexity and longevity in the area. This is
particularly true in the residential area that lies within the
Kwinana Air Quality Buffer (KAQB) and includes Brittania Ave,
Fanstone Ave and East Churchill Ave.
The results of an independent monitoring and analysis program of the stacks at Munster in 2009, published in 2010, shows that all emissions are well below Western Australian and national guidelines, with many thousands of times less than the relevant air quality standards. The 2009 study repeated a 2003 study so that the results could be directly compared. The 2009 results were similar to those from the 2003 study, from which the Western Australian Department of Health concluded that there would be no detrimental impact on public health from the emissions at Munster.
The extensive testing program involved in these reports covered 66 compounds selected from the National Pollution Inventory list in agreement with the Department of Environment Regulation (formerly the Department of Environment and Conservation). Ground Level Concentration (GLC) modelling of the compounds was then undertaken by independent air quality consultants, Katestone Environmental. This was done using the DEC recognised AUSPLUME model to establish ground level concentrations in the local area. This clearly demonstrated that emissions from steady state operations are within health guidelines. To read the 2010 media release, click here.
In 2006, as part of an ongoing review, Department of Environment Regulation (formerly the Department of Environment and Conservation) published the Environmental Assessment Report 2006, which found there to be no expected health impacts from stack emissions. More recently, in late 2010, the Department of Health has advised some local residents that, based on samples taken from monitoring stations on their properties, the levels of metals in the community are very low and do not pose a health risk.
An exploratory descriptive study was conducted by WA Department of Health in 2010. The objectives of the study into the health complaints were to:
- determine the range of symptoms experienced by individuals;
- attempt to determine if there was any relationship between the symptoms and the exposure to emissions from the Cockburn Cement Plant; and
- determine if the Cockburn Cement Plant is having a significant health impact that needs to be managed.
The study found no association between the symptoms reported and exposure.
Since 1955, thousands of people have been employed at Munster, many for several decades. There is no evidence of our employees' health being impacted during this time by the Plant's operations.