QAL emissions ‘nothing of concern’
EXCESS steam coming from Gladstone’s Queensland Alumina Limited site on Saturday morning was “nothing of concern”.
The Observer photographer Derrick den Hollander snapped a picture of the steam while on his way to work on Saturday at 8am.
A QAL spokeswoman said there was definitely nothing of concern.
“It is simply condensate (steam),” the spokeswoman said.
“Condensate is more visible depending on atmospheric conditions at the time. Saturday morning’s lower air temperatures combined with very high humidity would’ve caused the condensate to not disappear as quickly as usual.”
Department of Environment and Resource Management Central West environmental services’ Don Arnold said the Department of Environment and Resource Management had contacted QAL representatives, who advised they were not aware of any abnormal events that may have affected the calciners on Saturday morning.
“The department is not aware of any evidence that increased levels of pollutants had been released from QAL during this time,” Mr Arnold said.
“Departmental officers have reviewed the photograph and believe the pictured emission is predominantly steam.
“Calcination involves high temperature drying of alumina resulting in the release of water vapour.
“There was high humidity recorded in Gladstone on Saturday morning, which would have contributed to the cloud pictured.
“When humidity is high, water vapour coming from the calciners will condense into a large cloud of steam.”