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Environment Protection Authority

Environmental Issues

Air - NSW overview

Fugitive methane emissions study

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has commissioned the CSIRO to undertake a comprehensive study of fugitive methane emissions from a range of natural and industry sources across NSW. The study will run over 12 months, with sampling undertaken in all four seasons.

Methane is a gas that exists naturally and is also generated by human activity. It is a component of the earth's atmosphere at low concentrations. We inhale methane when we breathe.

The sources of methane emissions in the environment include wetlands, native forests, landfills, rice farms, coal mines, coal seam gas sites, sewage treatment plants and intensive agricultural sites.

The CSIRO has been asked to sample a selected range of these sources across NSW in order to provide a reliable picture of current methane levels. The sample sites are located throughout the state, including in the Hunter, Central West, North West, Sydney, and the South West.

To assist the CSIRO, the EPA has made contact with companies that it regulates to inform them of the project and gain their voluntary support to participate in the sampling program.

The study has been designed  to provide the EPA with accurate information about sources of methane and regional variations in emissions. It will also provide current information on methane levels and relative contributions from various sources.

The CSIRO commenced monitoring at facilities licensed by the EPA in June 2014. A final report to the EPA is expected by early 2016, once sampling has been completed and the data analysed.

The EPA will publish the final report and will engage with the public to discuss the outcomes of the study. The results of the study will provide a greater understanding of methane emission levels, and emission contribution sources.



Page last updated: 09 December 2014