Mill under scrutiny
PUBLIC concerns about dust emissions from the Mossman Sugar Mill have come to a head, with council being inundated with complaints concerning the immediate area around the mill. Despite the fact it claims no responsibility for the dust emissions, general manager of operations Paul Hoye said council has been monitoring conditions of the Mossman pool that residents have expressed concern over.
“Council’s Environmental Health Unit is monitoring and testing contaminants in the Mossman pool to ascertain if it presents a risk to public health,” he said. “Council is aware the pool managers are using all available means to en- sure the pool is kept as clean as possible in the circumstances.
“With council’s assistance, the pool has acquired a new more effective automatic vacuum cleaner and the managers are adjusting the filtration system when necessary to cope with the additional contamination load.”
Mossman Mill general manager Haydn Slattery said the mill has been working to fix the issue since 2013.
“There’s been a lot of discussion lately around our stack emissions, we are working with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection to address them and they will meet standards by the start of next season,” he said.
“Two years ago we spent just over $1.5 million refurbishing the smaller boiler that saw a reduction in our emissions by 50 per cent.
“Obviously people have concerns that the mill isn’t doing anything. We’re spending $4 million to fix this issue, we’re not ignoring it.
“Some of these things can’t be fixed over night.”
The mill operates under an Environmental Authority (EA) for the milling of sugar issued by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP). The EA, which con- tains conditions including air quality emission limits, identified a problem with dust emission standards from the sugar mill’s boiler stack in 2013.
“As a result, Mossman Mill submitted a voluntary Transitional Environmental Program (TEP), approved by EHP, which outlined a program of works to bring the mill back into compliance by December 2016,” said a spokesperson for EHP.
“The TEP affords the company a reasonable opportunity to return the mill to compliance without the threat of enforcement action, while also setting milestones that must be achieved and complied with as work progresses.”
The mill acknowledged it has had several complaints from residents but stresses that it is dedicated to the reduction of said emissions, claiming they will be in compliance with EHP regulations by January 2016 after the installation of the second dust collector.
In the meantime council has borrowed air monitoring equipment from the Macquarie University in NSW.
People concerned about dust emissions from the Mill are encouraged to phone the EHP pollution on 1300 130 372.
Obviously people have concerns that the mill isn’t doing anything. We’re spending $4 million to fix this issue, we’re not ignoring it. Haydn Slattery
Mossman Mill manager Haydn Slattery