Namoir air quality monitoring project

Through the Namoi Region Air Quality Monitoring Project (NRAQMP), the EPA aims to provide community members with access to baseline ambient air quality data from privately-owned monitoring stations in the Namoi region, while continuing to evaluate the requirement for a public regional air quality monitoring network. 

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

What is being measured and reported

Ambient concentrations of particulate matter (PM), including PM2.5 and PM10, are continuously measured at four monitoring stations (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 on the OEH web site.

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

  • the monitoring station location - a descriptive location and map coordinates
  • the monitoring station details - instrument type and operating standards
  • the monitoring data period and summary - timeframe, number and proportion of valid results
  • detailed monitoring data - 1-hour and 24-hour rolling average PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations
  • a summary of quality assurance and quality control – 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 throughout the Namoi region including

  • agriculture
  • mines
  • unpaved roads
  • bushfires
  • dust storms

Responses and trends in these data cannot be attributed to any one of these sources without additional supporting investigations.

Interpreting the monitoring results

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

  • standard for PM2.5 of 25 µg/m3
  • standard for PM10 of 50 µg/m3.

The Ambient Air Quality NEPM also establishes annual average standards for PM2.5 and PM10. Ambient quality data on this web page as part of the NRAQMP cannot be compared to these criteria, as the data is not averaged over the required 12-month period.

The Ambient Air Quality NEPM PM standards 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 (that is, 25,000 people or more). These sources do not, however, apply specifically to monitoring and managing localised impacts from sources like heavily trafficked roads or large industries.

Find out more about the applicability of the Ambient Air Quality NEPM in the Revised Impact Statement.

 The four monitoring stations (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. 

Accessing monitoring results

View the ambient air quality monitoring data for 1-hour clock and 24-hour rolling average PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations at each monitoring station. All stations monitor PM2.5 and PM10 emissions.

This station

  • is located west of Breeza and south of Curlewis in an area where large-scale developments are proposed
  • was commissioned in June 2013
  • represents ambient air quality conditions in the villages of Breeza, Curlewis and Caroona, and at and rural residences in this area.

This station

  • is located in the northern part of the Namoi region
  • was commissioned in November 2011
  • represents ambient air quality conditions in the Maules Creek locality.

This station

  • is located in the south-eastern part of the Namoi region
  • was commissioned in September 2012
  • represents ambient air quality conditions in Werris Creek.

This station

  • is located east of Boggabri in the centre of the Namoi region
  • represents 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 islocated in Tamworth.

Disclaimer: The data used in the compilation of this section 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.

Namoi Region Regional Airshed Modelling Project

Although extensive air quality monitoring is being undertaken in the Namoi region, the EPA is evaluating the need for a public air quality monitoring network.

The Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997 (part 9.3C) requires the EPA to gain advice from technical experts on the cost effectiveness of any such monitoring program.

The EPA commissioned Ramboll Environ to undertake a regional meteorological study and regional airshed model. The report provides a summary of the projected (2021) particulate matter concentrations for each town in the region, assuming all mines operate at approved or proposed maximum production.

Read the report: Namoi Region Regional Airshed Modelling Project (PDF 7.8MB)

The EPA is reviewing and considering the recommendations as part of its consideration of prioritising a regional monitoring network.

OEH has committed to a review of the public air quality monitoring networks in NSW to ensure that they meet government and community information needs. The EPA's evaluation of the need for a public air quality monitoring network in the region will also need to consider the outcomes of this review.

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