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Cockburn Air Quality

Background

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER)* continues to investigate and respond to complaints of dust and odours impacting the suburbs of Munster, Beeliar and Yangebup in the City of Cockburn.

 * The former Department of Environment Regulation amalgamated on 1 July 2017 with the Department of Water and the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority, forming the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation.

What is Happening Now?

Cockburn Cement Limited (CCL)

CCL's cement and lime manufacturing plant in Munster has been licensed under Part V, Division 3 of the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (EP Act) since 1987. The current licence (L4533/1967/16) was granted on 30 June 2012 and amended on 23 June 2016 to extend the expiry date to 30 June 2036. 

Licence review

 In 2016, the Department carried out a comprehensive risk-based review of the licence. The review considered air quality and odour findings from several studies, including a community odour survey and odour verification plan undertaken by CCL and assessed by the Department, as well as a Department ambient air quality study.

On 12 December 2016, the Department issued CCL with an amended licence with new risk-based conditions and specified controls for stack emissions, dust and odour. Conditions include: 

  • new continuous emission monitoring systems (CEMS) targeted at combustion efficiency monitoring;
  • live combustion efficiency monitoring aimed at minimising the emission of odourous compounds;
  • ongoing community odour programs;
  • upgraded ambient monitoring stations for particulates and particulate matter of 10 micrometers or less in diameter (PM10);
  • real-time boundary line response requirements and fugitive dust limits; and
  • online reporting of fugitive dust levels at the site boundary.

Licence appeals

The amended licence was appealed under section 102 of the EP Act. The appeals were determined by the Minister for Environment on 5 December 2018.

To view the Minister’s Appeal Determination, see Appeal 1 and Appeal 2.

In response to this Appeal Determination, we will be working to amend the licence during this coming week – to ensure CCL meets all of the new requirements quickly. CCL will have 21 calendar days to respond to our licence review, before we issue any amendments. The company cannot appeal any licence amendments made as a direct response to the Minister’s appeal determination.

Community members that have frequently contacted us will receive letter invitations in the coming days to small group (up to four people) meetings on 12 and 13 December, where we can explain what it all means. If you want to register your interest for these meetings, please contact us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 6364 6895.

For further information regarding the appeals process, please visit the Office of the Appeals Convenor website or call 6467 5190.

Copies of the current licence are available here

What now?

Once the licence is finalised, the Department will ensure that progress is made on CCL’s implemention any improvement requirements.

The Department understands that odour emissions can impact people’s lives and will keep in regular contact with CCL to ensure that the intended outcomes of the improvement conditions are realised.

Over the coming months, the Department expects to receive further information on the emission profile from CCL as part of the new licence conditions. Information will be investigated and considered, leading up to further reviews of the licence in coming years.

The Department will continue to pursue these requirements and will commit to seeking further understanding from CCL as to what actions and investigations it is taking, above and beyond the conditions of the licence to avoid, mitigate and otherwise minimise the impacts of odour on the community.

Application for works approval – trial of odour neutralising agent

On 15 August 2018, CCL submitted a works approval application to the Department for the trial use of an odour neutralising agent and installation of associated infrastructure.

The application was accepted on 3 September 2018 with the assessment expected to be completed in the coming days.

Investigation of dust impacts

The Department investigated two dust events reported by Beeliar residents on 5 September 2016 and Munster residents on 11 October 2016. The investigations included taking samples of dust, interviewing residents and local industry and reviewing available air monitoring data. 

Dust sampled was alkaline (pH of 11 to 12) and consisted primarily of calcium. The analysis reports are as follows: Interim Report and Report on Microscopic Analysis. 

From the investigations undertaken to date, it was not possible to conclusively determine the origin of the dust events. The information obtained, however, will be used to inform any further investigation into dust events.

Investigation of odour impacts

The Department continues to investigate odour complaints from the community.

Community residents are reminded that it is important to report odour impacts at the time that they occur by calling the Pollution Watch Hotline on 1300 784 782. The online reporting tool can be used to lodge complaints after the impact has occurred.

Further information

This page is regularly updated with any planned or completed actions to reduce odours. Whenever we receive any results from Cockburn Cement in regards to identifying odour sources or causes – we will release as much information as possible to the public as we’re legally able.

Frequently asked questions

Is the Minister’s Appeal Determination final?
Yes, the Minister’s Appeal Determination is final and the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) will amend the licence to reflect the findings.

Can the amended licence be appealed?
No. Licence amendments made as a direct response to the Minister’s appeal determination cannot be appealed.

When will the Department amend the licence to incorporate the Minister’s Appeal Determination findings?
In response to this Appeal Determination, we will be working to amend the licence during this coming week – to ensure Cockburn Cement meets all of the new requirements quickly. Cockburn Cement will have 21 calendar days to respond to our draft licence, before we issue any final amendments.

Will you be meeting with the community to discuss the current approach?
Yes. Community members that have frequently contacted us will receive letter invitations to small group (up to four people) meetings on 12 and 13 December, where we can explain what it all means. If you want to register your interest for these meetings, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 6364 6895.

How do I find out more information about what is going on now?
Our ‘Cockburn Air Quality’ Community Update webpage at www.dwer.wa.gov.au/cockburn is regularly updated with any planned or completed actions to reduce odours.

How will you ensure the site is performing the way it should be?
As we know these odours can impact people’s lives, we investigate all matters thoroughly and increase our patrols to clamp down on odours when necessary.
Once we receive further information and studies from Cockburn Cement, we will conduct another licence review to reassess how the company is controlling odours and whether any further changes are required. When we carry out this review, we will discuss all changes directly with the community just like we are doing now.

What can I do to help the Department reduce odours in my area?
As we want to achieve the best outcome for everyone in the community and reduce these odours, we appreciate and encourage people reporting odours at the time they’re experienced to our Pollution Watch Hotline on 1300 784 782.

Can I find out details of how Cockburn Cement is performing onsite?
Whenever we receive any results from Cockburn Cement in regards to identifying odour sources or causes – we will release as much information as possible to the public as we’re legally able. We will liaise with Cockburn Cement, asking them to remove any copyright or commercial in confidence matters before submission.

What should I do if I am impacted by odours?
We will continue to conduct patrols and encourage people to report odours to our Pollution Watch Hotline on 1300 784 782.

How can I be updated regularly?
Our ‘Cockburn Air Quality’ Community Update webpage at www.dwer.wa.gov.au/cockburn will be regularly updated with any new planned or completed actions to reduce odours.

More Information

This page will be updated as new information becomes available. Please check back or subsribe to email updates below. Odour and dust complaints can be made to DWER’s 24-hour Pollution Watch Hotline on 1300 784 782.


 Updated 5 December 2018

 

 

 

This page is regularly updated with any planned or completed actions to reduce odours. Whenever we receive any results from Cockburn Cement in regards to identifying odour sources or causes – we will release as much information as possible to the public as we’re legally able.