BLACK coal dust is back in Gladstone homes as coal supplies return back to normal at the Barney Point Coal Terminal.
For the past month Gladstone residents have been breathing a little easier and doing less cleaning as coal supplies dried up at Barney Point due to floodwaters inundating coal mines across Central Queensland.
No coal supplies for many residents has meant cleaner benches and window sills, however, coal production has ramped up over the past week with the opening of the Blackwater rail line and, as a consequence, so has the coal dust.
Gladstone local Paul Tooker told The Observer that after some weeks of no coal dust due to the flooding, coal dust returned in earnest last Monday.
“We have now returned to the situation where my wife has to wipe down all surfaces a number of times a day to remove the coal dust,” Mr Tooker said.
There is no indication that coal dust is causing any likely risk to the health of people living in Gladstone, according to the Human Health Risk Assessment Report released by Queensland Health last August.
However, many Gladstone locals find that hard to believe as they scrape, dust and brush away coal dust from their homes everyday.
The report states that “the results from the data available to date indicate that the contribution of coal dust is small.”
The Department of Environment and Resource Management air quality data for Gladstone show a significant rise for particle PM10 and Particle 2.5 over the past week compared to the past six weeks, however the rise is still well below industry standards.
The Gladstone Ports Corporation is in consultation to build a $2.7 million wind barrier to reduce coal dust emissions at the Barney Point terminal.