Fugitive Coal Dust Emissions from Trains

Client: Queensland Rail (now Aurizon)
SkillsDecision support systems and custom toolsAir quality management plans, Dust
Location: Queensland, Australia
Date: 2008

In 2007, the Queensland Environmental Protection Authority requested QR Limited to conduct an Environmental Evaluation of fugitive emissions of coal dust from trains travelling from mines to ports (or coal consumers) on the Moura, Blackwater and Goonyella coal transport systems. QR Limited appointed Katestone, Connell Hatch, John Planner of Introspec Consulting to prepare an Environmental Evaluation.

The quantification and assessment of the potential for coal dust to escape from wagons and the rail corridor and to adversely affect residents and land uses adjacent to the rail corridor is complex. The Environmental Evaluation was required to be completed in a very short timeframe and, as a consequence, the study team instigated a number of approaches to investigate the issue and to develop workable solutions. The Queensland EPA was fully informed of the proposed study methodology at the beginning of the project.

The extensive study program was completed within the tight time constraints specified by the Queensland EPA.

Following on from the study Katestone developed and implemented systems for monitoring coal dust lift-off from coal trains on the Blackwater, Moura and Goonyella systems. The monitoring systems measure opacity and meteorology and detect passing trains. Every day, an automated system processes the monitoring data remotely and posts it to a dedicated website.

Our innovative approach enables detailed yet cost-effective determination of dust pollution and response to community concerns.

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