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Wind and dust monitoring in Waitaki valley

Media Release
For immediate release: Wednesday 23rd July 2003

Extensive wind and dust monitoring in Waitaki valley

Independent experts are conducting an extensive long-term wind and dust monitoring programme in the lower Waitaki valley, as part of investigations for Meridian Energy’s proposed Project Aqua hydro-electric scheme.

“Three dust and wind sites and a fourth dust monitoring site have been set up in the Waitaki valley,” says Selwyn Blackmore, Project Aqua Mitigation Manager. One dust and wind site is at Kurow, another at Duntroon, and a third further down the valley (between power-stations 5 and 6). The dust site is located near the proposed concrete batching plant between Waikaura Creek and Duntroon.

The sites will be monitored for at least the next year and perhaps even longer. They will provide detailed information on the direction and strength of wind in the Waitaki valley and the levels of dust that prevail and settle in the areas of the monitoring sites.

The wind velocity information will help consultants URS refine the assessments of dust effects that are likely as a result of the construction and operation of Project Aqua.

“We know quite a lot about how the dust caused by the construction activities of Project Aqua would behave,” says Selwyn Blackmore, “based on measurements at other large engineering projects around the world.”

“We have already identified the people that are likely to be affected by construction dust, and are talking to them and assessing the effects on properties and residents on a case-by-case basis.”

Meridian Energy will attempt to keep dust effects to a minimum and will provide mitigation for the dust effects that do occur as a result of the construction activities.

Meridian Energy has retained the highest quality independent experts in its assessment of dust effects as a result of the construction and operation of Project Aqua.

“The work done by URS has been peer reviewed twice, to ensure that the assessment of dust effects is realistic and takes into account all known factors,” says Selwyn Blackmore.

URS will prepare an independent report based on an analysis of the wind velocity and dust data. This report will include findings and recommendations and will be provided to all people that are potentially going to be directly affected by dust effects.


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