BlueScope Steel fined over windblown dust

BlueScope Steel’s Port Kembla steelworks has copped a $1500 fine and a formal warning for failing to control dust emissions last year.

Environment Protection Authority (EPA) officers spotted heavy wind-blown emissions coming from the site on August 12 and again on October 17 and 23.

EPA Illawarra manager Peter Bloem said the dust failed to comply with BlueScope’s licence conditions requiring the company to minimise dust emissions from any activities at the steelworks.

‘‘... Even though BlueScope Steel was aware of predicted gale-force winds [in August], the company failed to take adequate steps to minimise the emission of fugitive dust from the premises,’’ he said.

‘‘Pre-watering of stockpiles is a critical component of dust control and unfortunately on this occasion, the company did not act until it was too late.’’

The EPA also investigated the October incidents, which related to emissions from the steelworks  recycling area.

Mr Bloem said a formal warning had been issued for the first October case while the second incident is set to be addressed through a pollution reduction program.

‘‘While the EPA recognises dust management at the site can be difficult ... especially during strong winds commonly experienced in Wollongong, the community expects a high level of control to ensure dust impacts are minimised at all times ... ’’ he said.

‘‘Dust minimisation at the site has and will continue to be a high environmental priority and there are extensive management systems in place to control [the dust].

‘‘Dust reduction works have been the subject of previous pollution reduction programs and dust levels are also regularly monitored and recorded publicly.

‘‘The incidents highlight the importance of regularly monitoring and improving dust management measures.’’

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