ALCOA’S power station in Anglesea has come crashing down at last, with Alcoa successfully carrying out the demolition on Wednesday last week.
However, the demolition has sparked a strong response from local lobby group Surf Coast Air Action (SCAA) over the choice to use controlled explosives to collapse the structure both last week and in the first unsuccessful attempt on May 30.
Alcoa site manager Warren Sharp said the demolition was completed according to plan while the wind was blowing from the south-south-west, away from the Anglesea township.
“Now that the structure has been demolished, it is expected to take up to six months to process and remove the mainly steel materials from the site.
Alcoa released the air monitoring results on Wednesday evening, noting it had engaged a qualified occupational hygienist to conduct air monitoring for asbestos and dust.
“A dust monitor was located at the edge of town, at the DELWP office in Camp Road.
“The results from the dust monitoring indicate that at the monitoring location, the measured particulate concentrations were identical before, during and two hours following the demolition.
“Asbestos monitors were located at seven positions around the perimeter of the power station site. The results indicate that there were no asbestos fibres detected at any of the locations.”
Alcoa’s preparations included a “comprehensive 12-month asbestos removal program” but this has not satisfied SCAA, which wanted a “traditional and safer mechanical demolition”.
SCAA spokesperson Regina Gleeson said the group’s primary concern was air quality.
“Asbestos is an insidious fibre that shouldn’t be blasted into the local environment. Its carcinogenic consequences should have precluded any decision to proceed to blast the plant.”
Alcoa has previously said explosives were its preferred option as the structure was too heavy to pull over, and cutting it apart from the top down would involve too many risks to the workers involved.