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Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Air - NSW overview

Namoi region air quality monitoring project

Project background

The Namoi Region Air Quality Monitoring Project (NRAQMP) aims to provide community members with access to baseline ambient air quality data from existing privately owned monitoring stations located in the Namoi region of NSW while work continues towards evaluating the requirement for a public regional air quality monitoring network. 

Why do we need a network?

Community members have raised concerns about the impact of current and future large scale developments on air quality in the Namoi region of NSW. The community is keen to be able to access air quality data in order to understand the current situation and to use this as a baseline for the future.

The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and EPA are presently evaluating the requirements for a public regional air quality monitoring network consistent with the Government’s Strategic Regional Land Use Plan (SRLUP) for the New England North West region. You can find more information on the SRLUP for the New England North West region at the NSW Government web site.

Community members have expressed the importance of having timely access to baseline ambient air quality data while development proceeds in the Namoi region. The NRAQMP is an interim solution using existing privately owned monitoring stations while the need for a public regional network is being assessed. 

What is being measured and reported?

Ambient concentrations of particulate matter (PM), including PM2.5 and PM10, are continuously measured at four monitoring stations (i.e. Werris Creek, Breeza, Wil-gai and Maules Creek) using the Tapered Element Oscillating Microbalance (TEOM) instrument. You can find more information about PM and TEOM instruments at the OEH web site.

Local coal mining companies report monitoring results to the EPA on a weekly basis, which includes 1-hour clock and 24-hour rolling average PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations in ambient air at each of the four monitoring locations. The weekly reports include:

  • monitoring station location - a descriptive location and map coordinates
  • monitoring station details - instrument type and operating standards
  • monitoring data period and summary - timeframe, number and proportion of valid results
  • detailed monitoring data - 1-hour clock and 24-hour rolling average PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations
  • summary of quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) – outcomes of checks performed to determine whether the data is valid or invalid. 

The data provides an indication of PM2.5 and PM10 contributions from all sources present throughout the Namoi region including agriculture, mines, unpaved roads, bushfires and dust storms. Responses and trends in these data cannot be attributed to any one of these sources without additional supporting investigations.

How should the monitoring results be interpreted?

The National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure (Ambient Air Quality NEPM) includes a 24-hour clock average:

  • advisory reporting standard for PM2.5 of 25 µg/m3
  • standard for PM10 of 50 µg/m3, with up-to five allowable exceedances per year.

While the Ambient Air Quality NEPM PM standards effectively act as benchmarks against which ambient air quality can be assessed at specifically nominated monitoring stations to give an average representation of general air quality and population exposure (i.e. 25,000 people or more), these do not apply specifically to monitoring and managing localised impacts from sources like heavily trafficked roads or large industries. You can find more information about the applicability of the Ambient Air Quality NEPM in the Revised Impact Statement at the National Environment Protection Council (NEPC) web site.

The four monitoring stations (i.e. Werris Creek, Breeza, Wil-gai and Maules Creek) are not used to determine compliance of individual premises with the Ambient Air Quality NEPM standards. Rather, these were established to:

  • provide background ambient air quality data
  • help assess any impacts on local communities
  • assist in on-site management practices
  • manage cumulative impacts.

It is not appropriate to evaluate 1-hour clock average PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations against the Ambient Air Quality NEPM standards. However, evaluating the 24-hour rolling average PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations against the Ambient Air Quality NEPM standards may provide a useful guide about how air quality in the Namoi region compares with other locations across NSW. 

How can monitoring results be accessed?

To view the ambient air quality monitoring data for 1-hour clock and 24-hour rolling average PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations at each of the four monitoring locations, click on the monitoring site headings below.

Breeza

  • Located west of Breeza and south of Curlewis in the area where large scale developments are proposed. Commissioned in June 2013, this station monitors PM2.5 and PM10. Site is representative of ambient air quality conditions at the villages (e.g. Breeza, Curlewis and Caroona) and rural residences in this area.

Maules Creek

  • Located within the northern part of the Namoi region. Commissioned in November 2011, this station monitors PM2.5 and PM10. Site is representative of ambient air quality conditions in the Maules Creek locality.

Werris Creek

  • Located within the south-eastern part of the Namoi region. Commissioned in September 2012, this station monitors PM2.5 and PM10. Site is representative of ambient air quality conditions in the town of Werris Creek.

Wil-gai

  • Located east of Boggabri in the centre of the Namoi region. This station monitors PM2.5 and PM10. Site is representative of ambient air quality conditions at Boggabri and rural residences in the area.

OEH operate a comprehensive air quality monitoring network throughout NSW. The closest OEH monitoring station is located in Tamworth. Data from this station can be downloaded from the OEH website at the following link: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/AQMS/search.htm

Disclaimer: The data used in the compilation of this EPA page have undergone only preliminary quality assurance checks. The data may be subject to amendment as a result of external factors, such as calibration changes, power failures or instrument failures.

Page last updated: 01 August 2017