Shire President Cr Lynne Craigie OAM said; “This report is an important step forward in understanding and addressing the wider issue of dust in Newman”.
“We look forward to understanding the results contained in the report in more detail, and speaking to the State Government on further testing we think is important,” she added.
While the report reassuringly answered the original question raised by the community about the composition of the dust in Newman, it also found dust levels were high. This raises new questions about the amount of dust in the air, which Shire says needs more research.
Cr Craigie said “The original intent of this study was to measure the composition of the dust in town. I am greatly relieved to hear the Department of Health has reviewed the results of the year-long monitoring campaign and advised that the measured concentrations of metals and asbestos do not represent a public health risk to the Newman community”.
“While there are no immediate concerns from the composition of the dust, we will be contacting the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) and requesting the State Government conduct a Health Risk Assessment, to answer new questions the community will have about the amount of dust, now this has been identified in the report.
“We will be calling for this to occur quickly, as our community will be looking for reassurance this is a priority, and clear information on next steps from Government will help alleviate any concerns,” she added.
The State Government has already committed to establishing a working group, and to keeping stakeholders informed through a community update page.
The Shire believes a comprehensive Health Risk Assessment will provide robust information and evidence to the Working Group to help guide their decision-making.
“We know dust comes from many sources, but it is important additional data can be collected and published so we can work on practical actions if needed,” Cr Craigie said.
“We know this will be of the utmost importance to our residents and look forward to working with DWER on the next steps,” she added.
The Newman Dust Composition Monitoring Campaign report includes data collected between July 2018 and July 2019, and measures the composition of dust in Newman over that period.
- The full version of the report can be found here.
- The State Government has created a page to keep stakeholders and the community updated. The page can be found here.
- The highlighted findings from the campaign and the report were:
- The daily average TSP levels were above the historical air quality guideline adopted for the campaign in most samples.
- The daily average levels of the metals analysed detected iron at the highest concentrations. A small number of samples showed elevated manganese levels, however these did not exceed the long-term health guideline value. These results are consistent with the area’s mineralogy. The other metals analysed had low levels.
- All samples had asbestos levels below the limit of detection.
- The Department of Health has reviewed the results of the monitoring campaign and advised that the measured concentrations of metals and asbestos do not represent a public health risk to the Newman community.