Dust solution on its way
8 March, 2013
Dust solution on its way
Relief is in sight for residents on unsealed roads that are being plagued by clouds of dust kicked up from passing trucks, says Northland Regional Council.
Six sites around Pipiwai and Pokapu, in the Whangarei and Far North districts, are experiencing serious problems with road dust due to the dry summer conditions and an increase in forestry harvesting traffic.
The regional council last week issued a resource consent for the use of a dust suppressant called ‘Dust-Lock’. The consent allows roading contractor Fulton Hogan – on behalf of Hancock Forest Management – to apply the product on roads at the six hard-hit sites.
Wright Road, which is the only site that falls under Whangarei District Council jurisdiction, is first in line with application of the dust suppressant scheduled for this Saturday [subs: Saturday 09 March 2013].
In the meantime, the forestry company has been applying water to the roads to try and keep the dust down.
Northland Regional Council Chairman Craig Brown says he’s pleased for local residents that the two district councils – who are responsible for roading – and the forestry company now have a way forward.
“This dust nuisance is having a real impact on people’s quality of life, so it’s great to see that now there’s some light at the end of the tunnel for them.”
Prior to applying for the resource consent, Fulton Hogan had trialled various dust suppressant options. The trial found that one of the keys to success was pre-application preparation of the road.
“Whangarei District Council has already carried out road preparation ahead of the dust suppressant being applied at Wright Road, which is fantastic,” says Mr Brown.
“We’re hoping to see Far North District Council do the same for the five sites in its jurisdiction, so the roading contractor can get on with applying the dust suppressant and really make a difference to the people living there. “
The regional council is also working with the Northland DHB’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr Jonathan Jarman, who is investigating the health effects of dust from unsealed roads.
“Dr Jarman has met with council staff about how we can support his investigations through monitoring of PM10 (the invisible but harmful particulate matter),” says Mr Brown.
“Staff are currently working out the details of a monitoring programme so we can feed that information back into Dr Jarman’s investigations.”