Mitigating potential impacts on local residents is a key part in Cockburn Cement’s decision making when planning operational activities on the Munster site. Activities and movements across the site are significantly reduced during night time hours for both safety reasons and to reduce potential noise from the site.
Specific examples of our planning include reduced night time activity in the LKD landfill areas and the shellsand stockpiles, where heavy equipment use, such as bulldozers, is scheduled for daylight hours and during low wind conditions. Key work activities during major maintenance shutdowns are also scheduled for daylight hours. Dust control water spraying takes place on the various roadways throughout the day.
The Decision Report acknowledges that there are a range of fugitive dust control measures in place at Munster and they are detailed in Appendix 4 of the report. The Munster operations have had an Environmental Improvement Plan in place for many years and fugitive dust control measures form part of that plan.
Complaints regarding dust from the site have dropped dramatically since 2012 following the installation of the baghouse filters on kilns 5 & 6, the cessation of clinker production in kilns 3 & 4, and the end of quarrying activities south of Russell Road.
Cockburn Cement’s licence requires continuous monitoring from the network of industry and regulatory accepted dust monitors in the local communities. Annual reports for the last five years show there have been no exceedances of the NEPM standard for TSP and PM10 from these monitors that are attributable to the Munster operations. Infrequent, short term high readings if detected are investigated. These variations can be caused by large scale external events such as bush fires or local dust producing events, such as land clearing or agricultural activities.
Based on this consistent, high quality data, the effective fugitive dust control measures and the significant improvements and changes, we are confident there is negligible dust impact on the surrounding communities from our Munster operations.
The Decision Report (page 48) requires context because it is referencing 12 data points over the course of 2014 (3% of the total measurement period) from an independent ambient air monitor in Tindale Ave that is surrounded by a residential subdivision and market gardens. These samples also were taken at a time when there were 4 kilns operating at the site. Yet, analysis of the dust samples collected in the monitor during the relevant periods could not attribute the dust to the Munster operations.
Smaller particle materials used at Munster are stored in sheds to keep the material dry by protecting it from the weather, and to mitigate the risk of dust emissions when it is moved. This material includes clinker, dried slag and gypsum.
The bulk materials on the site – shellsand and coal – require regular wetting and are stored in the open in line with industry standards. There is continuous activity to reduce the risk of dust emissions. The dust control measures for these stockpiles include sprinklers, surface binders,
heavy road cover material and frequent inspection and control. The shellsand stockpile also contains significant moisture because the material is transported as a slurry.
We are proud of our LKD landfill activities, which are enabling the successful revegetation of old quarry areas at the Munster site with unique local tree species such as Tuart. This scientifically important process will leave a long term legacy for local residents by providing a unique habitat for local bird species in an area that is increasingly losing its vegetation through urban development.
As a result of all the activities outlined above there is now very clear evidence over nearly half a decade that dust emissions from the Munster site have fallen dramatically and now have a low impact on the surrounding area. When we test dust samples from the community, they consist primarily of local soil particles which are likely to be windblown, and it is for this reason the provision of cleaning to residents is no longer necessary by Cockburn Cement.
We have a long standing process of encouraging the community to talk to us if they believe there has been a specific incident affecting their property, and to provide evidence so we can investigate. Where it has been clear that an incident has led to an impact then Cockburn Cement has undertaken rectification activities, including cleaning.
The process for raising issues with Cockburn Cement is clearly outlined at:
Cockburn Cement provides a hotline for neighbours in its community to raise issues at any time. We also encourage local residents, or anyone who is interested, to learn more about our operations by visiting us at Munster. Anyone interested can register for a plant tour at: www.cockburncementcommunity.com.au/community/register-a-tour/