THERE have been calls for Cockburn Cement to be punished after it admitted a blocked kiln was behind a discharge that reportedly spilled dust up to 4km away.
The Munster company blamed “an abnormal process problem” in kiln six for the blockage, which resulted in a discharge of lime on the evening of October 10.
“The lime dust consisted of shell sand that was being fed into the kiln,” a spokeswoman said. “Shell sand is a naturally occurring raw material used in the manufacture of lime.”
Hunter Eva, the son of Cockburn councillor Phil Eva, believes his car was covered in dust as a result of the incident but insists the incident actually occurred two days later on October 12.
Mr Hunter, who lives on the Spearwood-Munster boundary on Barrington Street, said he was offered free car cleaning vouchers by the company.
“My car’s black but it was practically a white car with all the dust on it,” he said.
The company would not comment on samples taken from Mr Eva’s home, or if it was out of the ordinary for dust to travel so far.
Cockburn MLA Fran Logan, who also believed the incident occurred on October 12, said the company had improved considerably since it spent $50 million on filters for two lime kilns and ceased clinker production.
But he said poor housekeeping continued to haunt the company, with action from the Department of Environment Regulation (DER) the only way to eradicate issues for good.
“There’s no argument it has improved but when you have blowouts like this and it travels 4km away from the plant, that is unacceptable,” he said.
“That’s when the DER should take action. Only by way of prosecution will companies take notice.
“If they know that every
Mr Logan said he had received numerous messages from Cockburn residents concerned about the fallout.
A spokeswoman for the DER said it was investigating a kiln incident on October 12.
“As the matter is under investigation, no further details can be provided,” she said.
The spokeswoman also |revealed the department was reviewing Cockburn Cement’s licence, with the possibility of new risk-based conditions and specified controls for dust and odour.
“DER is considering comments from Cockburn Cement on a draft determination, before finalising its review – expected to be completed in November 2016,” she said.
Cockburn’s planning and development services director Daniel Arndt said the City was waiting for results from samples taken from Mr Eva’s home.