Unanswered Questions and Questions with Answers from the Transcript of the Liaison Meeting at Boolaroo Ė 26 August 1998
In attendance: about 60 people Ė including:
[Tape 2: Side B START OF TAPE ]
Theresa GORDON: QUESTION: The other question is talking about the remediation process in a number of houses. I think that the Environmental Health Centre should make it clear that the situation isnít the same for everyone. Some people, in respect to re-contamination issues that we just talked about have a bigger problem than a lot of people in the community. And also that some people have a bigger problem when it comes to the actual level of contamination in their house. We have here from Pasminco all those tests that their average was between, or the range was between 80-3,300 [parts per million lead in soil]. And in fact I know that Kate Hayterís made no, wonít mind me saying, sheís made no bones about speaking about it, that her house has 82,000 [ppm lead in soil]. So not everybody should be treated or thought of in the same manner, when it comes to remediation , and that people should have some compassion and understanding for the different situations that are cropping up and I just wanted to make that general statement. I actually would like to hear from the Environmental Health Centre actually Ė just that statement: "Not everybody has got the same problem."
Steve MUGGLETON: PARTIAL ANSWER: Well, in terms of individual house remediation, every house is treated differently because we go in and have specialists identify unique risk within that house and then the scope of work offering work on that house is individualised to the risk within that house. Zonal remediation is different, certainly weíre offering a similar list of things to people. However, where there is identified slag in the footpath or something like that, weíre actually removing it in response to the different lead content in that soil.
Theresa GORDON: QUESTION: But still, just to make the statement that things are much worse for some people than others. Itís just not one stat [standard?] problem that needs to be treated in one stat way. That there is some niggly issues that certain people have that is quite serious. You know 80,000[ppm lead in soil] more than what most people have is pretty serious.
Steve MUGGLETON: PARTIAL ANSWER: In terms of the 80,000: what weíve identified and offered to do is to remove that completely, fill it back up with 6 inches of fresh clean soil and re-turf it. So that is a total response.
Theresa GORDON: QUESTION: But youíre not getting the answers yet as to why that person, why people have different problems. We know that the re-contamination issue seems to be prevalent in areas closest to the smelter. That there isnít really an answer yet. You must admit that. No one knows why some houses are very much higher than others. And that really is something that needs to be answered yet. There still needs to be a bit of understanding of that.
Allan GOW: QUESTION: And when will you achieve [the WHO guidelines for SO2]?
Mark WATT: Excuse me, can we possibly get some questions from other people. Iím not wanting to stop you but Iím trying to make sure that other people got a question.
Allan GOW: You did last meeting Mr Chairman.
Mark WATT: Iím sorry, I have to allow as many people as possible to get questions in. If you got further questions, Iíd really encourage you to write them down so that we can get answers for you as soon as possible. OK?
Female media person ??: QUESTION: If the planís going to be in place by September, when would you reach the goal?
Ed ROBERTS: PARTIAL ANSWER: I canít answer that. I didnít say the equipment would be in place. The plan to achieve it will be in place - itís entirely up to management and our board. It will require major capital expenditure. Thereís got to be some lead time. I canít answer that.
QUESTION: Question 4, again from Allan. Hunter Water have met the full range of conditions set by the EPA and all standards set by the NHMRC. Why canít Pasminco? Just wondering, Allan, if you could provide more detail so we could Ö
Allan GOW: QUESTION: Well, I could give you very specific details, from April to June youíve dumped an excess of lead in the creek - more than the last 12 months. Youíve by 300% exceeded the cadmium over the last 12 months. The zincís in a similar position. Shall I go on or is this embarrassing? [laughter follows]
Mark WATT: I think that they are...What I thinkÖ Help me to clarify this thing so everybodyís understanding it. Excuse me please. I think what youíre saying is that youíre saying that theÖ that Pasminco have exceeded their licence conditions and those sorts of things. Is that what you are saying?
Allan GOW: Well, the reason for my questions here is to find out where the goal posts are because theyíre not clearÖ
Mark WATT: The goal posts are set by the EPA. I think thatís the simple answer.
Allan GOW: Well mate, theyíre pretty significant from where I stand. Insignificant I should say, because I can show you pages and pages of talking about "inept" and similar words like that, attitudes to the EPA when this same situation has occurred.
Mark WATT: OK. I hear your point.
Allan GOW: I can give you years of newspaper clippings hereÖ
Mark WATT: Iím trying to form an answer to your question through this. So can we work on that one at this stage? I hear what you are saying. Other people may want to comment and Iíll invite comment in a minute on that.
Allan GOW: Well do I get an answer to the creek survey for a start?
Mark WATT: The answer wasÖ
Allan GOW: Öthe excessive quantity being dumpedÖ
Mark WATT: Ö that from what the information I had before me, is that Iím trying to understand what you were wanting, so that I can try and formulate the answer. I think that what youíre saying is that you were saying that there are exceedences of the licence conditions from your perspective, andÖ
Allan GOW: This is a licence to pollute. [Rest inaudible due to Mark Watt speaking over the top]
Mark WATT: Yep, well. Iím not stepping away from that at all. And you are wantingÖwhich word again? Sorry. Just let meÖ
Allan GOW: I was asked to give examples, so I did.
Mark WATT: Why isnít the, Iíll just clarify. Hunter Water met the full range of conditions set by EPA and all standards by the NHMRC, why canít Pasminco? I think that thatís, the reason Iím saying this is that I was trying to hear exactly what you were saying. Youíre talking about licence conditions exceedences. I think thatís what Iím hearing from you Ö
Allan GOW: Iím talking about poisonous substances.
Mark WATT: Yes, Iím not taking away from that. You want to help with that Theresa?
Theresa GORDON: Iíd just like to make the point following on from that, that due to community pressure, I think, during the Commission of Inquiry, Pasminco will cease all toxic effluent discharge by the year 2000 according to consent conditions. So thatís sort of, something to look forward to.
Mark WATT: Youíre talking about water discharges. Iím quite happy to, youíre talking about water discharges?
Theresa GORDON: Effluent dischargesÖ
Mark WATT: Yep.
Theresa GORDON: Öto the creek. As far as Iím concerned, I wish we had as much luck with children as weíve had with the creek.
Mark WATT: Right.
Theresa GORDON: I think thatís something to look forward to in the year 2000.
Mark WATT: Perhaps I can seek some further comment for the next meeting from the EPA on that. Do you have a question there?
Steve MUGGLETON: QUESTION: The
next two questions asked whether a cost-benefit analysis has been done on relocation
versus purchase and whether a cost-benefit analysis has been done about various
Female resident: QUESTION: Is there a way Iím wondering, a way we can get a bit more communication between the people in the community going? Maybe even in between meetings. Which might help. For instance, if I knew other people in my street were very close in my local area were also concerned, thatís what Iím really interested in. You know, when thereís foul air or whatever, in my area, we need to band together locally, very locally. So if there could be names and addresses of us all, perhaps on the minutes, and ways we could meet in between meetings, perhaps very locally, to address, you know, specific geographical problems that we have, we might be able to bring a joint issueÖ.
Mark WATT: Thatís a valid point to raise. Can I come back to that in a minute? Iím just trying to hear the general mood at this stage.
Female resident: Yes, well the only way to bring that up is to write objectives [?]Ö[Inaudible due to Mark Watt talking over the top]
Mark WATT: I think that is a valid point to raise if people have got particular local interests Ė to facilitate that. I see your point.
Female resident: Sure.
Theresa Gordon: QUESTION: Iím tabling Kate Hayterís questions. Iíd like to read Kate Hayterís questions. Sheís actually asked specifically, for the dust to be, for someone to be contracted, for the dust to be isotope tested to make sure exactly, to show clearly where it comes from. If itís paint, that will show clearly, and just end some of the debate there. Sheís asked the Remediation Centre [Remediation Management Committee] to pay for that. At the moment theyíve not yet given her an answer. Sheís also asked for the EPA to supply, to co-ordinate the supply of the air monitoring filters, for the same person to check them up against the isotope ratios Ė to make sure itís, to see how much the emissions are contributing. And [a question] to, also to EPA, to ensure that the above independent person is also allowed access to Pasmincoís slag piles where they think itís appropriate to test things they need to test. Just to try to lay all this to rest, and thatís what has been asked for. It should also cover a few other questions that people have on the dust and things like that so, theyíve been tabled and weíre waiting for those answers.
Mark WATT: OK, at this stage I think there are a number of aspects there. Iíve spoken to Steve and heís quite happy to get a written response to that for you.
Male Resident: QUESTION: Can I ask a question? The ladyís house next door to that particular lady [Kate Hayter] in Argy, whatís the difference between the two houses?
Mark WATT: I donít know, can anybodyÖ It would be subject to that personís permission. Iíll see if we can present that to the [Remediation Management Committee] meeting.
Male Resident: It seems strange to have one just standing out from the others.
Mark WATT: I donít know the answer to that. I donít know that anybody here would, and I particularly would need to seek the permission of people to disclose anything to do with their property. If that information is available, I certainly think thatís something weíll try and bring out. If not with the Minutes, at least with the next meeting.
Allan GOW: QUESTION: What Iíd like to ask of Mr Powell, of course, is could he expand on the other company slogan: "Pasminco recognises the protection of the environment"? And the reason Iím asking that, is with the water scare in Sydney, and these reports of the creek dumping are quite alarming in my book. I know that when I was a kid I used to fish there. My point that Iím making is, if we canít have clean water, then civilisation is doomed.
Keith POWELL: ANSWER: Our mission statement is: "Best from mine to market." So thoseÖ Iíd have to look upÖ
Questions With Answers
Mark WATT: QUESTION: My first question Ė because there are a number of people who may not have been at previous meetings, if people want to get specifics of those details, what sources can they go to?
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: Our Quarterly Report is sent to Council Ė in the Council environment section, it goes to the EPA. It goes to The Remediation Centre [Environmental Health Centre]
Jim SULLIVAN: QUESTION: If I may, Mr Chairman, request that Council be provided with two additional copies to be placed in the local libraries, is that possible?
Keith POWELL: ANSWER: Weíll provide those 2 copies [unclear].
Theresa GORDON: QUESTION [to Ed ROBERTS]: What is the "average range" [in soil lead] Ė it just means the "average is between 80 and 2,300 [ppm]" thatís not a mean? Youíre just saying that most of the soils were within that range?
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: Thatís right. The lowest was 80 [ppm] and the highest was that, thatís the range.
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: Well actually each result is an average of 5 separate areas within a personís property, and thereís 5 separate samples within each area so thereís 25 samples taken on a personís property to generate one number.
Theresa GORDON: QUESTION: You still follow the proper protocol [for soil sampling]?
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: Yes.
Theresa GORDON: QUESTION: And you gave a via? / five? stack particulate reading. Do you monitor for particulates in the ambient air?
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: For TSP [Total Suspended Particulates]? Yes, all the results are well and truly below the goal. We just havenít bothered to put it, but it is there in the report.
Theresa GORDON: QUESTION: And PM10?
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: We do PM10 at 4th Street station, as a requirement of the licence. And again, to my knowledge, all of our results are below the standard and it would just take up this meetingís time Ė but the results are
Allan GOW: QUESTION: At the last meeting it was pointed out that there was something like 263 exceedences of SO2.
Mark WATT: That was the previous report.
Ed ROBERTS: Not being here Iím sorry I can't answer that question. You mean 263 in total?
Allan GOW: Thatís what it was given as.
Ed ROBERTS: Well, across all of the sites, it probably would have been similar this time.
Allan GOW: QUESTION: Why?
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: As I tried to explain earlier, it has to do with meteorological conditions and the target has changed. The plant was set up when the goal for SO2 was 50 parts per hundred million [pphm]. And our dispersion, our stack heights were set up at that point in time and our emission rate. As you can guess that, there are lots of 10 minute readings which are either at zero - most of them would be down in the very low range - and they would taper off to less and less within each band. Up around 50 [pphm], there are very, very few goal exceedences. As you come down, and the goal changes Ė it went from 50 to 25 to 17.5 parts per hundred million, the technology has to change for us to achieve that. In other words our emission rate has to change. I pointed out in the very first slide here, that the company has achieved, since August of last year, just a touch over 40% reduction in what weíre putting out. But however, given the vagaries of the weather, that causes some of the emission to be brought back down to ground. And if youíre measuring against a 17 and a half as against the height of the stack, the dispersion work that was done initially for us to meet a 50 parts per hundred million - the emission that we have is still too high for us to consistently meet this 17.5 goal. Hence, what the company has done, in conjunction with the EPA and Department of Urban Planning [DUAP, NSW Department of Urban Affairs and Planning] is said that we will have, sometime in September, a plan, to reduce our goal, ah our emission, this emission here, to a level that will enable us to consistently meet the 17 and a half goal. And that plan will not be in place until September . Does that answer your question?
Allan GOW: Not satisfactorily, no. It was something like 300 odd the 3 months before and itís 263 current, yet you claim youíre still within the WHO goals.
Ed ROBERTS: Did I say that?
Allan GOW: What was theÖ?
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: What weíve said, no, Iíve said weíre within our licence here, which is quite different from the WHO goals. The licence is what we are discharging from site. The WHO goals involve the vagaries of weather, all other SO2 emissions, like wood-fires, like power stations, a whole range of SO2 sources.
Allan GOW: WHO has chosen a safe goal, of course, as you must admit Ė thatís why it was introducedÖ
Ed ROBERTS: I beg your pardon?
Allan GOW: Which is a safe goal, that is a health goalÖ
Ed ROBERTS: 17 and a half [pphm]?
Allan GOW: Yes, thatís a world thing, not a Boolaroo thingÖ.
Ed ROBERTS: 17 and a half is a goal which has been adopted by NHMRC. I wasnít involved in the setting of that Ė other eminent people were. And I must, we have to meet that goal. Weíve said we will meet that goal. And Iíve just said to you that we will be having on the table, with EPA and DUAP, a program for us to meet that goal in September. We will not meet the goal in September, we will have a program on the table.
Male resident: QUESTION: It isnít just the gases, itís noise, a continual problem. Weíve complained about it to Sulphide [Pasminco] quite often and they say itís gonna be fixed but itís never fixed. Night-time is the worst problem of all. Youíre in bed and it just goes straight through your head.
Ed ROBERTS: This is the hum youíre talking about?
Male resident: Beg your pardon?
Ed ROBERTS: This is the hum, youíre talking about the hum?
Male resident: Yeah.
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: We have a plan in place to reduce the noise into the community. This is the mound Ė youíve all heard of the mound project? Right? That will reduce the noise into the community by about 6 dBA, that is, a 75% reduction in noise. Now, it is with council, the council have asked us for some extra information, weíre about to give that information back to council. And hopefully with council, we will be able to then move on, and get that mound constructed. There were obviously some problems when we put in our DA [Development Application]. We had 27 people who put in submissions. Most of those were saying, "well weíre not real happy that youíre doing it". So weíve had to give the council some extra information, to give them some extra confidence that itís going to actually achieve what we said it would achieve. And thatís about to go to council now.
Male resident: Itís been going for about 2 years now, soÖ.
Ed ROBERTS: Actually the hum is less now than what it was 2 years agoÖ.
Male resident: Not when youíre lying in bed.
Mark WATT: OK
Ed ROBERTS: Fair enough sir, fair enough. But our instruments show that itís less now than it was. But what happens is that as we, in our program of noise reduction, remove one point source, another point source becomes highlighted. And we can sometimes, by doing something make the situation worse. So, anywayÖ [inaudible because of Mark WATT speaking over the top].
Theresa GORDON: ANSWER: Just a quick point of clarification on that, the noise actually increased with the increase in production, but that has since come down. Since 2 years ago Ö[very hard to hear]
Michelle CALVERT: QUESTION: Yes, Iím wondering if we could get a copy of those overheads?
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: I donít have one, itís all in the quarterly report.
Michelle CALVERT: QUESTION: OK, and does the quarterly report list the daily emissions over a three month period?
Ed ROBERTS: The daily emissions?
Michelle CALVERT: Yes, the daily readings. Iím particularly interested in the lead emissions and the sulphur dioxide emissions.
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: No. Our requirement is to report against a 90-day running average, those are there.
Michelle CALVERT: OK, they are there?
Ed ROBERTS: The 90-day running average, not daily results
Michelle CALVERT: QUESTION: Is it possible to get copies of the daily emissions upon which you work out the 90-day average?
Ed ROBERTS: No.
Michelle CALVERT: Why not?
Ed ROBERTS: Well, whatís the reason for it? What the need for it?
Michelle CALVERT: I just want it. I want to know what the readings are per day because to explain ...
Ed ROBERTS: An individual daily result doesnít mean anything.
Michelle CALVERT: Sorry, but I would like to know each day, if you allow me to finish my question, because you have to work that out in 90-day average, I understand that. But if you have a, for instance, Iím not saying that itís happened, you have a very large emission one day a gross exceedence, and then for the next 50 days or so, meet your goal, your average will actually drop below the goal. And Iím interested to know what the levels are each day. Now Iím sure there are probably other people whoíd like to know too.
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: If you require that information. I suggest, through the chair, you make a request to the company and the company will answer it.
Michelle CALVERT: QUESTION: What the overhead did show was there seems to be a problem with 6th Street now, Iím not a local, but I understand that 6th St isnít in the buffer zone, and I'm wondering if you have explanation as to why there are exceedences on 6th street or do you put that down to weather again?
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: Again, there is a weather cycle in all of this because of prevailing winds. During the summer period you will tend to get areas like 4th Street, the school, 1st St, west, being elevated compared to winter months and itís the reverse for 6th street. 6th Street is high in winter months and it is primarily because of this inversion layer problem which I mentioned earlier, for S02, thatís exactly the same situation. We get the emissions held down below that cold inversion layer, and then you have all those complicated things like wood fires and things like that, which all have traces of heavy metals in them. So there is a weather pattern.
Male resident: QUESTION: Ed, the overflow from the dams, is that monitored?
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: Storm water? Yes, itís continuously monitored for flow and it is continuously sampled for heavy metals.
Male resident: QUESTION: Iím talking about the overflow, not the excess. The excess that yous discharge, does that flow the same way as the overflow from the dams from the continuous rain?
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: Weíre talking about storm water are we? There are 2 storm water discharges the northern channel and at the south west dam area. These are continuously monitored, the overflow is monitored. It flows through a measurement weir and samples are taken at that. Either on a daily basis in the case of the northern channel, or on a 4 hourly basis, in the case of the southern channel. The northern channel discharges through a small wetland down through the golf course into the creek. The southern, or the southwest dam discharge, discharges down past the ambulance station.
North Lake Macquarie Environmental Health Centre Report
Theresa GORDON: QUESTION: 2 questions. I wonder, have you done anything along the lines of hunting down re-contamination problems. Some people suffered quite bad problems of re-contamination. We did touch on that at some other meetings Ė I was wondering what progress had been made.
Steve MUGGLETON: ANSWER: We, I tabled a document at the last meeting and we tossed around the possibility of soil plots to test for re-contamination and since then itís been discussed with a number of people and Iíve actually met with Brian Gulson from CSIRO in Sydney. Weíre going to continue those discussions to try to come up with the most appropriate way to measure re-contamination.
Matt DUTTON: QUESTION: If that is right, why is the government taking leaded-fuelled cars off the road? Can you answer that question for me?
Theresa GORDON: ANSWER: Yes, because 3,000 [ppm lead in soil] is not good enough. 3,000 parts per million in soil is a bad level, thatís why lead is going out of petrol. I fought for that to happen, to help Boolaroo as well. Itís not just the smelter problem. Thereís paint and thereís petrol.
[TAPE 2 Side A, START OF TAPE]
Michelle CALVERT: QUESTION: I thought that maybe the EPA would like to make a comment about dust levels of 888,000 [micrograms per metre squared (Ķg/m≤)] and soil levels of 82,000 [ppm] being caused by leaded petrol.
Pam DEAN-JONES: PARTIAL ANSWER: [Barely audibly] I agree that itís unlikely that that would be the only sourceÖ[inaudible]
Michelle CALVERT: Could you please speak up, so that everybody whoís talking about these levels being brought about by them being stationed at a set of lights, can hear your answer.
Pam DEAN-JONES: ANSWER: Certainly leaded petrol has an impact on soil lead levels adjacent to highways and things like major intersections but, no, the sorts of levels that we would expect to find associated with leaded petrol are not the sort of numbers that we see in slag here.
Theresa Gordon: Slag has 2000 [ppm] and the highest is 8000 [ppm] so itís not slag either.
Elizabeth OíBRIEN: QUESTION: Iíd like to ask Steve a question about his report. Why do you continue to report average blood lead level when the NHMRC has nothing to do with averages. It simply talks about exceedences. Can we finally get the exceedences and if you donít know what your problem is, in real numbers - how many children are exceeding 10 [Ķg/dL], how many children are exceeding 15 [Ķg/dL] - how on earth can you achieve zero exceeding 15 [Ķg/dL] by the end of this year and only 10% exceeding 10 [Ķg/dL] by the end of this year ? Is the 16 families related to 16 children exceeding 15 micrograms per decilitre or 10 [Ķg/dL] or what isÖ?
Steve MUGGLETON: Which question do you want me to answer first? [Laughter by all follows]
Elizabeth OíBRIEN: QUESTION: Theyíre very similar. How many children are exceeding?
Steve MUGGLETON: Iíll answer your question. I think Iíll answer your question for what I think the problem is, and itís something that weíre addressing with the round 11 [blood lead] results. There are two NHMRC targets that arenít particularly well addressed when we talk about average blood lead levels. And weíre going to be presenting the data in a different way when we present the round 11 results and weíre probably going to do a round 12 towards the end of the year which ties in with the NHMRC targets of blood lead levels for 98. One of the difficulties we have when we start talking about all blood lead levels, particularly high ones, is the potential to breach confidentiality, because you start singling out individual children.
Elizabeth OíBRIEN: To number a child, isnít to single them out. To say there are 50 exceedences is not to single out a child.
Steve MUGGLETON: No when you start getting into small numbers, you do start singling them out.
Elizabeth OíBRIEN: How? To say there are 16 [families]Ö?
Steve MUGGLETON: Well one child in Argenton is an example. Now, Iím not saying itís one child or 15 children in Argenton. But if we start talking about one child in Argenton and youíd start, people would start speculating about what that child was. I guess what Iím saying isÖ
Michelle CALVERT: Didnít you say thatÖ
Steve MUGGLETON: ANSWER: Just let me finish. What Iíve said, and what Iíll do, is present the data in a more unpacked fashion next time and align it with the NHMRC targets. I am however conscious of the need not to unpack it so far, as to present a risk with confidentiality.
Theresa GORDON: QUESTION: Iíd just like to make a point of clarification on the slag as well, and please correct me if Iím wrong here, but the average lead content of slag is 2,000 [ppm] and the highest that you [Pasminco] admit to, that I know of, is 8,000 parts per million, and thatís encapsulated in the thing. So that wouldnít have in fact, all contributed to the 82,000 [ppm lead in the soil]. You know, that couldnít be the answer to an 82,000 part per million lead level.
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: The lead in slag is generally there in a glass matrix, a bit like your lead crystal. Itís caught up in a glass matrix. The only time it can become a problem is if it gets really finely ground. Very very fine particles are more reactive than coarser particles Ė thatís the particle that we have concerns about. Itís very very unlikely that that is causing any lead in the ceiling dust if that was your comment.
Theresa GORDON: I meant weíre talking here of a soil [lead] content of 82,000 parts per million and on the inside of the house of 888,000 [Ķg/m≤ lead in window sill dust].
Ed ROBERTS: Obviously an older home, is it paint? Sorry I was outside.
Theresa GORDON: No, this was after Ė it doesnít matter if you washed [the surface]. No itís not paint, itís beenÖ.
Ed ROBERTS: Itís been deposited and washed off Ė is that what you think?
Michelle CALVERT: No, itís deposited.
Theresa GORDON: I donít know, I can only guess. And Iím just saying, there have been no investigations. But as far as my knowledge and your knowledge goes, slag canít fly around like that and itís encapsulated, and the highest content of lead would be 8,000 [ppm] and the average is 2,000 [ppm]
Michelle CALVERT: 0.8 % ?
Ed Roberts: It would go as high as 1%, in slag.
Michelle CALVERT: Which is 10,000 [ppm].
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: I canít talk about what happened 20 years ago, in terms of what was put around in the community. There may have been some that was slightly higher than 1 %, but generally what we have is slag of about 1 %.
Theresa GORDON: QUESTION: But it wouldnít be 8.2 % [82,000 ppm]?
Ed ROBERTS: ANSWER: No, no, thatís most of our lead production out the door.
Male resident: QUESTION: Mr chairman, anyone here from the council who could give us the latest on the mound, is there any green light coming up for it, whatís the delay? Anyone from the Council?
Mark WATT: ANSWER: I think I can answer that one for you. It has already been explained that Council went back to Pasminco for further information. I believe Pasminco are about to submit that to council, when? In the next week or two?
Ed ROBERTS?: Thatís right.
Mark WATT: And that will be going back to Council, hopefully then for a decision. I think thatís the best answer I can give at this stage.
Male resident: QUESTION: Does anybody here come from the Council?
Mark WATT: ANSWER: Yes, yes. Jim is here. Iím sure heíll answer it for you.
Jim SULLIVAN: ANSWER: The situation is the development application for the mound has been submitted by Pasminco. Council found the document, the documentation provided deficient in many ways and have asked for further information. Some of the important issues for Council was, where the mound is to be located, removal of houses from the community, and a proposal to construct something on land that the company doesnít own. The proposal is that the mound go up in 1st St and remove a number of houses. The land is not owned by the company and the Council needs to consider the companyís proposal in respect to that. And also needs to consider the companyís proposal for noise emissions and fugitive emissions. But generally, the Councilís view, that it is necessary to put a mound in there, but the location of it is something that hasnít resolved. So when we get that information back from Pasminco, weíll be in a better position to make a determination.
Male resident: QUESTION: Is the Council in agreement in principle then, Mr. Chairman?
Jim SULLIVAN: ANSWER: It is. It is in agreement in principle of the mound and has resolved that way. However, the Council is not necessarily in agreement with the mound going up 1st St or the removal of a number of houses.
Steve MUGGLETON: QUESTION: OK. The first question was from Allan Gow. Could a register of questions and answers be set up to answer the questions that have been asked time and time again for the last 10 years?
ANSWER: The answer to that question is there isnít a register to answer questions going back 10 years. Files containing the minutes are available. And we suggest that perhaps someone could develop a register or present one from elsewhere, that might be of use here Ė that might be considered at a future meeting.
QUESTION: The second question is again from Allan Gow. What is the process used in liaison meetings? Why arenít there motions put and voted on?
ANSWER: The answer to that is that itís a form of consensus discussion and decision-making thatís been used since Rev.Watt has chaired this meeting. Formal votes have not been required and this forum is used to give people not used to formal meetings, the maximum opportunity to contribute.
QUESTION: Again from Allan. Who is responsible for decisions if there is a consensus process used?
ANSWER: The answer to that question is the Chair of the Committee.
Pam DEAN-JONES: QUESTION: Yes, I have the questions. The next 3 questions are for us and the first one is about what sorts of monitoring are required and what our licence conditions actually are for Pasminco, and we have prepared a table that explains which emissions are required, have limits on them and what the monitoring required for each of those emissions. I donít have enough copies to go around everyone here tonight, but it will go out with the minutesÖ[inaudible]Öto explain a little bit about that now.
Marl WATT: Yes, please.
Trevor HENDERSON: ANSWER: The table that will be attached to the next meeting [Minutes] Ė sets out the location of point sources of emissions from the plant and it also identifies what the air impurities are, from each of those point-sources of emission. And it tells what the limit concentrations are for each of those emissions. And it gives details of the monitoring requirement in relation to each of those conditions. Thereís also a second table which sets out the annual mass emissions as well as concentration which relates to the point source and gives total mass emissions of sulphur dioxide, sulphur trioxide, solid particulate matter and the air toxics. Iíll give a copy of this to the secretary here tonight.
Pam DEAN-JONES: QUESTION: For question 6, the question about the sulphur dioxide monitors in the North Lake Macquarie area.
ANSWER: At the moment there are 3 continuous S02 monitors in Boolaroo and in Argenton areas. Theyíre in 4th St, in 5th St, and in Argenton. And in the last few months council installed a few more, one I think in Fairfax Rd, and one at Macquarie Hills. We have been talking to Pasminco about the potential for putting an additional monitor lower down in 6th Street and also possibly another one in 4th Street. But what weíd be doing, I guess is looking to review the locations of monitors, subject to the mound consent. One of the things we wouldnít want to do is be shuffling monitors around, because weíd like to get continuous monitoring from any one site that we can make some sense of them. We wouldnít be shifting monitors for a short time, weíd be looking to come up with a more organised strategy once weíve got the mound in place, or the mound position in place.
QUESTION: On the question 7, which is about selenium discharges.
ANSWER: The current licence permits a maximum of 300 kgs of selenium to be discharged to water every year, but in fact Pasminco is running, at the moment, at about a hundred kilograms per year and thatís a very significant drop over the last 4 or 5 years in terms of discharges to water. Itís already been mentioned tonight that the intention is that by the year 2000 there will be no discharge of contaminated process water or stormwater.
The next question, question 8 states that after the meeting, how do we know
what progress is being made.
Pam DEAN-JONES: QUESTION: Question 10 is about exceedences of the consent conditions, remember the limit that there be no more than 30 exceedences of the WHO sulphur dioxide goal in any one year, is a consent condition for the smelter, itís not a licence condition. So in fact this is a question that should be answered by the Department of Urban Affairs and Planning, but I can give, I guess, a general answer to whatís going on.
ANSWER: The consent condition resulted from the Commission of Inquiry and as weíve heard on a number of occasions, I think Pasminco, as yet, has failed to meet the ambient goal for sulphur dioxide in air. What weíve done since the beginning of this year, noting that there were problems, is weíve asked Pasminco to report to us monthly rather than quarterly so that we can, I guess, have a closer look at whatís going on. The company has also been asked to go back and have a very close look at what theyíre doing in terms of sulphur dioxide emissions and to come up with a strategy for bringing those emissions down a lot further so that they can actually meet the WHO goal in the community. And as youíve heard them say tonight that report will go to Urban Affairs and Planning in the first instance and weíd expect very soon after that, and itís due fairly soon?
Ed ROBERTS: 31st [August?]
Pam DEAN-JONES: Öin the next short time. So thatís whatís happening with the S02 stuff. QUESTION: Question 11 is the question about what happens when guidelines are exceeded and again Iíd have to stress that thereís a difference between the EPAís licence conditions and what happens with an exceedence there and what happens in terms of ambient stuff in the community. But I guess in some respects the result is the same. When there are exceedences of licence conditions Pasminco is required to report those to us. Theyíre written in the quarterly reports that are available to anyone. And then we would require to take action to address them, and of course, also, with a breach of the licence conditions, the company can be fined. Whether exceedences of the air quality goals, the ambient air quality goals in the community, then again we will be talking to the company about whatís gone on, why theyíre happening, what can be done to reduce the impact. But, other agencies would be involved and Health would be involved as well in those discussions. So thatís the general approach. 12 is yours again Steve.
Steve MUGGLETON: QUESTION: Yeah, Question 12 wasnít really answered Ė it was considered a rhetorical question. Iím quite happy to table it Ė be more specific. The reason it wasnít answered is that it states "acid rain wrecks cars, how can it be good for people?" SoÖ
QUESTION: Question13. How do you get answers to questions that were asked at previous Liaison meetings and are still not answered?
ANSWER: If anything hasnít been sufficiently clarified, then contact the chair, who will endeavour to get answers to those questions if youíre not happy.
QUESTION: Question 14. And Iíll read it just so that Iím accurate again. In the re-contamination of remediated houses draft report to the community, and thatís the thing that was tabled at the last meeting. "Why pay more money and waste 3 more years on Graeme Wallerís study when Graeme has done all he can do to determine the source of lead? Why not give the money to Brian Gulson, heís the expert who can determine the sources of lead?"
ANSWER: Graeme Waller actually hasnít undertaken a study of recontamination. The draft that was tabled at the last meeting explained the difficulties in using Graeme Wallerís assessments to try and determine some sort of rate of recontamination. And the development of soil plots was simply suggested as a starting point for discussions on measuring recontamination. I do need to say that at this point, no decision has been made on which way to proceed. We have had some preliminary discussions with Brian Gulson and those sorts of discussions on measuring recontamination rates will continue and theyíll be discussed with a whole series of experts, not just Graeme Waller.
QUESTION: Question 15 I thinkís already been answered tonight and that was copies of Pasmincoís quarterly reports. ANSWER: Theyíre available from the EPA, from Environmental Health Centre and also at Lake Macquarie City Council.
Mark WATT: And I notice that the councilís offered to put them in the libraries for people to have access.
Elizabeth OíBRIEN: QUESTION: Sorry, actually Steve, the question was about the Remediation Management Committeeís quarterly report, or the Environmental Health Centreís quarterly reports, not Pasmincoís.
Steve MUGGLETON:ANSWER: OK, well, the answer to thatís yes. Iíll provide those reports.
Mark WATT: Iíve misread the question.
Steve MUGGLETON: ANSWER: We discussed that this afternoon and I agreed this afternoon that Iíd provide those reports.
Steve MUGGLETON: QUESTION: The final question. Question 18. What test procedures is the Pasminco lab accredited to do?
ANSWER: And Pasminco provided the chair with the answer to that. And Iíll just read it out. "The Pasminco laboratory is accredited for metals and alloys, ores and minerals, residues in food and agricultural materials, biological monitoring, constituents of the environment, residues in constituents of the environment and miscellaneous materials and products.
Allan GOW: QUESTION: I asked a question at the last meeting as well, for a simple explanation for one of the executives from the company to explain the company slogan. An you personally [Mark WATT] were going to get back to me but you didnít. The question is still not answered. Why is everybody frightened? The questions are so simple. Why do the answers have to be so damn complicated?
Mark WATT: Could you clarify for me again so I can write the question down.
Allan GOW: Your memoryís failing, Mr Chairman.
Mark WATT: Quite possibly is, quite possibly is. What was the question? About a company slogan?
Allan GOW: Explain a company slogan, Iím sorry if this is embarrassing.
Michelle CALVERT: "One step ahead for the future".
Allan GOW: The Slogan is "One step ahead for the future".
Mark WATT: OneÖ
Allan GOW: Itís a simple question, Iíve been pushed, Iíve been cut off. Iím not recognised and the question has still not been addressed. And I donít want to wait til next year, because if we get into next year, thereíll be another upgrade on the drawing board, and weíll have solved nothing in this current one
Mark WATT: OK. Iíve written the question down this time, to make sure and I apologise because that comes back on me that it hasnít been responded to. Iím sorry. Joanne Victor.
Allan GOW: Do I get an answer?
Mark WATT: I said Iíll get an answer for you.
Allan GOW: Today?
Mark WATT: I donít know that Pasminco, have you got an answer for us? I hear what you say. Pasminco got an answer for it now?
Keith Powell?: ANSWER: Thatís not our slogan. Iíve never heard that.
Allan GOW: Can I..? Iíll quote you on that of course.
[tape 1 side A]
Pam DEAN-JONES: QUESTION: [difficult to hear] I donít know much about it [isotopic fingerprinting] but does the method differentiate between old emissions and new emissions?
Michelle CALVERT: ANSWER: Yes, I actually have a sheet here in case somebody asked me that. Iíll hand it over to you [Pam Dean-Jones]. Apparently there are differentiations between different sources of lead, so youíll have Broken Hill lead, as opposed to say, Bulgarian lead or whatever. And the isotopic fingerprinting can be quite specific as to the source. Now it depends on the source of the old ore and maybe Pasminco can answer this, the source of the ore. I understand it may be able to answerÖ
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Updated 17 March 2014