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The Department of Water and Environment Regulation says it is investigating complaints about odour from an Upper Swan business on Great Northern Hwy.

Regulator investigates odour in Upper Swan

THE Department of Water and Environment Regulation says it is investigating residents’ complaints about odour from an Upper Swan business on Great Northern Hwy.

Upper Swan residents complained to Echo News about odour, which they believed was coming from Bitutek (Blackgold Holdings), Lot 16 and Lot 32 Great Northern Hwy.

Some residents who live in an area west of the site and Almeria Park said during the past year they had noticed an offensive, acrid odour like burning rubber coming from where the business was sited.

Resident Stephen Spark said for about six months he had noticed an odour some evenings especially when there was no wind.

“When you go outside it burns your throat,’’ he said.

The City of Swan also confirmed late on Wednesday afternoon that bitumen had been processed on the site and it had received complaints from residents about the odour and a burning sensation associated with it.

An officer’s report  said one of the conditions of an earlier approval – DA774/2015  – given to Blackgold Holdings was that no blending, mixing or heating of bitumen related products should be undertaken as those activities were defined within the LPS17 as an industrial process and accordingly could not be approved within the resource zone (or rural under the metropolitan region scheme).

The report said the proposed scheme amendment sought to facilitate the mixing/blending of hot bitumen with other products or additives to produce specialist bitumen blends for site or condition specific applications.

“The applicant contends that noise and odour emissions can be managed via a combination of physical design such as noise attenuation materials and/or air extraction and filter systems and  operational practices such as limiting operating hours or duration of blending, mixing and heating, particularly during hot or windy weather conditions,’’ the report said.

“The city is of the view that those measures can be addressed at the development application stage when the requisite noise and odour assessments are provided by the applicant.’’

Councillors approved Item 3.1 amendment No. 150 to local planning scheme No. 17 modification to existing additional use No.36 of schedule of LPS17 for Lot 16 and Lot 32 at the city’s general meeting on Wednesday.

A Department of Water and Environment Regulation spokeswoman said manufacturing of bitumen was a prescribed activity under the Environmental Protection Act 1986 (Category 36: Bitumen manufacturing) and was subject to conditions stipulated in works approvals and licences.

The spokeswoman said bitumen manufacturing operations were assessed in accordance with the department’s published regulatory framework on a site specific basis.

She said the department had received a works approval and licence application from Bitutek for its Great Northern Hwy site but had yet to assess the application or advertise it for public comment.

The city said it had advised residents to contact them when the odour was a problem so a city officer could attend to verify the odour and source and maintain a diary of these events.

It had also advised the Pollution Watch Division but was yet to verify the complaints.

By Anita McInnes

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. Two of her sons were born at Swan District Hospital and for many years she was a partner in a small business, which operated in the Gingin-Muchea-Bullsbrook area. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. She says the best part of her job is meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

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