The WA Environmental watchdog has reported there is a “negligible health risk” to Mandogalup residents from a nearby Alcoa facility in the Kwinana industrial area.
The previous Barnett government wanted to extend the existing buffer between Alcoa’s residue storage areas and a proposed residential development by the Satterley Property Group by 1.5 kilometres and asked the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to investigate.
The EPA has reported that while there was low likelihood of “unreasonable” amenity impacts east of Alcoa’s bauxite residue disposal area [RDA], there needed to be more investigation into air quality to the north.
In a statement, EPA Chairman Tom Hatten said “the potential for health and amenity impacts from dust varies across the Mandogalup area and is primarily dictated by the prevailing winds”.
“The risk of impacts from dust is not a set distance from the RDA boundary,” it said.
The authority said air quality in north and north-east Mandogalup did not appear to meet recently revised national air quality goals for particulates.
It reported this could be due to dust from Alcoa, and sand and limestone quarrying.
The EPA recommended further investigation to identify sources of dust, and what corrective measures needed to be undertaken to reach the National Environment Protection Measure goal for particulates smaller than 10 microns.
Environment Minister to consider advice
The Environment Minister said the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation would investigate the potential sources of dust in the north and north-eastern Mandogalup area.
Stephen Dawson said the State Government would consider what corrective measures could be taken, “if practicable”, to reduce dust levels.
The Barnett government’s proposal to expand the buffer zone, using legislation, met with strong resistance from local residents who said it would make it harder for them to sell their properties.
Property developer Nigel Satterley accused then-premier Colin Barnett of “fear mongering”, and undertook to campaign against the government.
The McGowan Government, while in Opposition, said it did not support an extended buffer zone.
Map from the EPA suggesting dividing the land near the Alcoa facility in Kwinana into four areas (Supplied: EPA)