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Good results from Regional Council dust programme

Friday, 11 October 2013 10:30 a.m.

Converting a dusty back lot into a market garden and donating waste wood piles to needy Rotorua residents for firewood has helped dampen down dust from industrial sites in Ngapuna.

Due to high levels of dust generated from industrial sites in the area, Bay of Plenty Regional Council introduced a three-stage education enforcement programme in 2011 aimed at reducing “fugitive” dust which exceeded the national standards for particulates (PM10).

Ngapuna has a number of industries which generate a great deal of dust. This was becoming a problem for neighbours, especially in late spring and summer when the earth was dry and south westerly winds prevailed, Regional Council Pollution Prevention officer Sherryn Owen said.

Under the first stage of the Ngapuna Dust Reduction Operational Plan, the Regional Council worked with Ngapuna site managers to develop dust management plans tailored to each site. The aim of the project was to develop management plans, check progress of dust reduction actions and update the priority ranking of all sites to ensure they complied with the Council’s requirements.

“These plans were provided to site managers last year, and now the project has moved into the next stage, which includes enforcement action as a last resort,” she said.

“We visited more than 30 sites in May this year, and were pleasantly surprised to see how much work had been undertaken since the previous round of site visits last year. Where necessary, the vast majority of sites had taken measures to avoid or mitigate emissions of dust.” 

She said three sites had gone to great lengths to improve their dust emissions. Rotorua District Council maintenance unit Castlecorp converted large areas of unsealed land on their site into market gardens, with the food grown donated to Rotorua’s Salvation Army, farm machinery firm Claas Harvest sealed and covered all unsealed areas and Rossco Engine Reconditioners paid for the back area of their leased site to be tar sealed.

Timber exporters Tachikawa donated significant amounts of untreated offcuts of dry wood to Rotorua families in need through Rotorua North’s Rotary Club and TD Haulage, which delivered the wood.

“The industries were very keen to engage with the Regional Council and improve their dust management. The positive reception when visiting the sites was both appreciated and made our job so much easier,” she said.

“Most sites had taken measures to avoid or mitigate emissions of dust. Site managers were positive about hearing specific details about what other sites in Ngapuna had been up to. We dealt with everybody fairly, and that was fundamental to the projects’ success.”

Ms Owen she was “cautiously optimistic” that all sites would comply with the dust requirements and PM10 standard by 2016.

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Castlecorp garden small