What’s Happening – March 2019



The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER), which grants and manages Cockburn Cement Limited’s (CCL) licence to operate its lime/cement factory in Munster, has begun to respond to community, newspaper, TV, social media and political pressure.

DWER has started the following programs:

1. Community Odour and Dust Monitoring Program

A group of community volunteers living near the factory will report odour or dust impacts when they are being experienced or witnessed.  The community supports this initiative which should be operating later this month.

2. Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) Program

A tower has been constructed on a hill next to Henderson Road, Beeliar and DWER has installed a LiDAR, a laser system used to map dust emissions, their sources and direction, and to create real-time images of them. You can see the LiDAR in operation using the link shown below. Choose “DWER LiDAR”, then either “Beta Low Slideshow” or “Beta High Show”, press the blank line to insert the date you want to see and the start and end times you want to see. Then press ‘Play’.


DWER has also installed particle monitors (two Tapered Element Oscillating Microbalances and one Beta Attentuation Monitor).  They measure the quantity of ‘dust’ and the size of the particulates (PM10 and PM2.5) on a continuous basis.

These particle monitors do not trap and analyse those small particulates (PM2.5) carrying toxic heavy metals which can be inhaled, pass into the lungs and bloodstream, and cause serious illnesses in the long term, like various cancers.  To do that DWER will need to use a high volume sampler which can separate large particulates from small particulates which are trapped on a filter. The filter can then be tested for the presence of heavy metals in the air.

Cockburn Pollution Stoppers wants DWER to use some of these samplers as well as the other dust monitors so our community can find out what heavy metals from CCL’s factory are in the air and in what concentrations.

   High Volume Air Sampler

3. Odour Patrol Program

DWER officers will be patrolling the area to identify and odour impacts and their sources. They will be using a ‘panel of assessors’ who have ‘average’ odour sensitivity.  As all human assessors are fallible and cannot identify the gases they are actually smelling and cannot detect toxic gases which have no odour there is a need to use technology to provide objective evidence of what gases are actually in the air being ‘sniffed’.  DWER officers could use portable gas chromatography/mass spectrometers when they go on patrol to act as a check on their own sense of smell and to identify the particular gases in the air they are breathing.

Cockburn Pollution Stoppers wants DWER to supply each ‘odour patrol’ officer with a portable gas chromatography/mass spectrometer to be used in conjunction with his/her own assessment of odours.

4. Dust Sampling Program

DWER will be placing a small number of dust sampling units (small glass squares) at a small number of community volunteers’ homes, to collect dust each day for testing to help determine possible sources. It appears this program is limited to testing for calcium (quicklime) instead of all the elements in coal, Portland cement and lime kiln dust which are at the Munster factory.

Cockburn Pollution Stoppers wants all elements in the dust tested.

To follow DWER’s progress check the Cockburn Pollution Stoppers Facebook page or use this link: