The Boral bitumen plant on Gap Rd, Alstonville.
The Boral bitumen plant on Gap Rd, Alstonville. Google Maps

Noise, pollution to be monitored at asphalt plant

BALLINA Shire Council will engage a contractor to monitor noise and air pollution from an Alstonville asphalt plant.

The process is expected to determine whether there have been any compliance issues with emissions from the Gap Rd Boral plant.

In February, the council voted to meet with Boral to determine an exit strategy from the site or discuss options to "improve the current operating conditions to the benefit of the local residents".

But Crs Eoin Johnston, Nathan Willis and Sharon Parry lodged a rescission motion which went before Thursday's meeting.

Councillors voted to take "immediate action to obtain accurate and impartial data" on pollutants from the plant which may affect nearby homes.

They agreed to engage a contractor to obtain "accurate and impartial data on noise and air pollutants" and to launch discussions with Boral regarding a "potential exit strategy" from its five-year lease or options to improve current conditions.

It's understood council staff will recommend at a later date that the work - estimated to cost $45,000 - be funded from the quarry reserve, which receives income from Boral's lease.

With a meeting with the EPA expected in the near future, CrWright said it was "pre-emptive" to take such action before speaking with them.

Cr Parry said it had been made clear to the council the EPA did not have the facilities to undertake the proposed tests on emissions at industrial plants.

Cr Eoin Johnston said he'd received conflicting anecdotal reports about noise and odour from the plant and wanted clear data.

In a statement, a Boral spokesman confirmed the company had supplied a Bitumen Odour Management Plan and a noise assessment of the site to the EPA last year.

He said this plan had been implemented and the site was compliant with noise management requirements.