Emissions will be safe, Holcim says

Emissions will be safe, Holcim says
Published: 12 February 2007

No adverse health effects will be caused by emissions from the proposed $200m cement plant at Weston, according to the company wanting to build it. 
 
Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd, which is investigating the plant as one of four options to increase cement production in New Zealand, has released further details from air-emission studies. 
 
The studies will form part of the company’s resource consent application for the plant, likely to be filed this month with the Otago Regional Council and Waitaki District Council. 
 
However, no decision has been made to build the plant - that will come next year once the result of resource consent applications are known. 
 
The 12th in a series of newsletters being sent to about 8000 North Otago homes this weekend deals with air emissions from the plant. 
 
Air emissions are one aspect an opposition group, the Waiareka Valley Preservation Society, has raised. 
 
The group claims the plant will cause acid rain, which will erode Oamaru’s historic limestone buildings, and plant emissions will affect health. 
 
Holcim said results from the technical air assessment report undertaken by international environmental and engineering consultants URS showed there would be no adverse health effects from air emissions from the plant. 
 
Works emissions must be within acceptable limits to protect employees and visitors, as well as neighbouring communities, the company said. 
 
Holcim is making Environ Medical Services Ltd consultant Dr Francesca Kelly available to meet individuals and community groups to answer questions. She is advising Holcim on health matters related to emissions from the proposed plant.
 
The company says it has also investigated how the cement plant might affect Oamaru’s heritage limestone buildings and other limestone structures. 
 
It said rain falling in New Zealand currently had a slightly acidic pH level of between 4.8 and 6; the pH level of Oamaru rain was 5.5. 
 
Based on available data, the predicted change to the acidic levels of rain in Oamaru from the Weston cement plant would be a drop in pH level from 5.5 to 5.47, causing no measurable change to the erosion of buildings. 
 
Holcim has made a commitment to work within all relevant standards and guidelines, including those for air quality.