Months of poor air quality in the Upper Hunter has forced the EPA into action

Upper Hunter residents, particularly those living in the Singleton Local Government Area, have been subjected to months of poor air quality.

Night after night the alerts have been issued for Camberwell, Mount Thorley and Maison Dieu along with the other six monitors in and around Singleton.

Today the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) says it is mounting a special operation targeting Hunter Valley coal mines to tackle excessive dust levels.

EPA Acting Director Hunter Amiette Wakenshaw said Operation "Bust the Dust", which is being conducted during spring and early summer, would put the Hunter's coal mines under even closer scrutiny.

Residents can only hope 'Bust the Dust' is more successful than their previous Dust Stop campaign which by this announcement looks like a failure.

Its must also be remembered that the Independent Planning Commission, when approving local mine projects, says each time that air quality is one of those impacts that can be controlled through 'strict' consent conditions.

This view of based on the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment's review of the projects that says the same thing each time - air quality won't be an issue due to strict consent conditions.

Upper Hunter Air Quality Network Saturday September 7 with only Camberwell recording a poor result on a night the authorities claimed we would receive dust from the west and north. What the dust only landed in Camberwell?

Upper Hunter Air Quality Network Saturday September 7 with only Camberwell recording a poor result on a night the authorities claimed we would receive dust from the west and north. What the dust only landed in Camberwell?

"Making mines keep dust levels contained is a priority for the EPA. Mines must properly control dust and comply with the strict conditions in place to safeguard their neighbours in the community as well as the environment, " said EPA Acting Director Hunter Amiette Wakenshaw said

"Mines have a duty to understand their environmental obligations and actively work to improve their environmental performance."

During Operation "Bust the Dust", EPA Officers are inspecting mines more frequently to check that extra dust controls are in place when there is a higher risk of dust, particularly on hot, dry and windy days that are typical in spring in the Hunter Valley.

"All coal mines are required by the EPA to minimise dust at all times. This includes modifying their mining operations during adverse weather to prevent dust from their activities impacting on the community," Ms Wakenshaw said.

"While recent rain has provided some temporary relief, mines will need to take extra precautions when warm, dry, windy conditions return.

"These precautions may include avoiding high dumping of overburden, watering exposed areas, postponing blasting or ceasing operations.

"If mines are caught out, the EPA will take action."

Putty Road

Putty Road