Photo of dust coming from Cleanaway's dump site. The photo was taken last week.
Photo of dust coming from Cleanaway's dump site. The photo was taken last week.

Dust not linked to waste company, state government says

THE State Government said it can't link residents' complaints about dust in their suburbs to a waste company in the spotlight over a recent landfill fire.

In a letter sent to Ipswich mayor Teresa Harding, Environment Minister Leanne Enoch said there no connection of dust reports in the community and Cleanaway's operations could be confirmed.

"With regard to ongoing complaints by nearby residents, I am advised that the department's Odour Abatement Taskforce continues to receive community reports from the Collingwood Park area, which identify Cleanaway as the alleged source of dust nuisance," she said.

"I understand that the taskforce has investigated all reports received and has not found a link between dust reports in the community and Cleanaway's operations.

"The taskforce's investigation has found that the Swanbank Industrial Area contains other industries, unsealed roads and residential and commercial land developments that have the potential to generate dust."

Ms Enoch said in order to understand the source and levels of dust in the community, the taskforce conducted an air quality monitoring program in Collingwood Park for a year.

It operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week from February last year to March.

"A final report on the results of this program is being prepared," she said.

"In addition to the 12-month monitoring program, the taskforce also installed long-term dust deposition gauges and particulate monitors at three other locations in Collingwood Park to measure the immediate and long-term dust and airborne particle levels.

"As at 30 June 2020, the monitoring shows that dust levels in Collingwood Park do not differ from other residential areas in south east Queensland."

Ipswich Residents Against Toxic Environments president Jim Dodrill said the State Government is "still a long way" from ensuring the Cleanaway site is safe for the surrounding community and environment.

"We still haven't seen the results of the investigation into PFAS contamination nor have we seen any concrete action from the State Government in relation to the fires they have every year on that site," he said.

"Even with this EPO they've issued, it asks Cleanaway to investigate themselves. That's just not good enough."

Mr Dodrill disagreed with Ms Enoch that dust levels in Collingwood Park "do not differ" from other suburbs in the south east.

"The State Government back in 2018 changed the legislation so that the dust monitoring was done at sensitive receptors," he said.

"The dust monitoring is (now) done where the people's homes are and schools.

"Previously it was at the boundary of the actual site (of waste facilities) so any dust escaping from the site, you could say categorically it was escaping the site and it was heading in the direction of Collingwood Park.

"The State Government has changed the legislation to favour the polluters rather than the victims of the pollution.

"For quite a few years, nobody in our street for example was hanging out washing to dry and people who had respiratory illnesses like asthma had to stay indoors during certain times of the day.

"It was only after years of campaigning by IRATE that the State Government have actually enforced some of the conditions in relation to dust at Cleanaway.

"It has improved over the last few months."



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