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Upper Swan residents have expressed concerns that once the bitumen plant starts operating all the time their amenity and health will be adversely affected.

Upper Swan bitumen plant investigation continues

AN Upper Swan company, which is trying to get a works approval and a licence application approved to manufacture bitumen at its premises is still being investigated after an odour complaint.

The Department of Water and Environment Regulation started investigating Bitutek Pty Ltd after residents complained about odour coming from Lot 16 and Lot 32 Great Northern Hwy (Regulator investigates odour in Upper Swan (Echo News, August 31).

The Department of Health said asphalt or bitumen plants could produce strong odours, which could result in symptoms such as headaches.

“Fumes from asphalt plants are also irritants and any health effects likely to be seen in the general public residing close to asphalt plants would be associated with odour and irritation i.e. runny nose and eye redness,’’ he said.

“Symptoms associated with exposure tend generally to be short lived and reversible once exposure stops.’’

Upper Swan residents, some of whom say they get a burning sensation in their throat when the odour is around, have expressed concerns that once the bitumen plant starts operating all the time their amenity and health will be adversely affected.

From a site across the road from Ginger’s Roadhouse, Bitutek  is providing bitumen for NorthLink WA.

A Main Roads WA spokesman said Bitutek was providing bitumen for the central section and for some temporary works on the northern section of NorthLink WA.

The City of Swan approved the initiation of amendment No. 150 to local planning scheme No. 17 modification to existing additional use No.36 of schedule of LPS17 in August – kickstarting the process the company needs to follow to get approval to manufacture on site.

An officer’s report presented at the council’s August 30 meeting said one of the conditions of an earlier approval – DA774/2015  – given to Bitutek (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 MRS).

The report said the proposed 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.

Aurora Environmental director Noel Davies said  the noise and odour modelling his company had done for Bitutek showed once manufacturing started on the site there would be little change in the noise or odour from the premises, which was already allowed to store bitumen there before transporting it off site.

Mr Davies said the manufacturing would take place in a container inside a shipping container and any nose or odour would be minimal.

The City of Swan said it had investigated  a complaint about a concrete pad and found the slab was a temporary measure associated with other approved construction work.

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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