Air quality monitoring project in Blue Mountains kicks off

Information on local air quality is now available to the Blue Mountains and Lithgow communities with a new temporary air quality monitoring station installed at Katoomba to record air quality over the next year.

NSW Environment Protection Authority Regional Director Metropolitan Giselle Howard said the community of Blue Mountains and Lithgow had been seeking more information on air quality in their local areas, and this project will provide a valuable picture of air quality over a 12 month period.

“The temporary Katoomba air quality monitoring station, which will be operated by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) for 12 months, will measure fine particles PM10 and PM2.5, sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, ozone and meteorological parameters,” Ms Howard said.

“In addition, 12 KOALA air quality sensors, operated by the Queensland University of Technology, are located in Katoomba, Springwood, Wentworth Falls (Boddington Hill) and Lithgow to provide indicative information on ambient air quality that will complement data from the Katoomba air quality monitoring station.”

Ms Howard said the project is run by the EPA in conjunction with a Steering Committee that includes a range of Blue Mountains community groups and volunteers, OEH, Blue Mountains City and Lithgow councils, Doctors for the Environment, Western Sydney University and the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District.

“The project involves the collaboration of numerous experts in the air quality monitoring field including OEH, Western Sydney University which will analyse the data and the Queensland University of Technology which will run the KOALA sensors, as well as local schools, business and community volunteers who are hosting and helping to maintain the KOALA sensors,” Ms Howard said.

“The community and the Steering Committee have been invaluable over the past eight months to select the monitoring sites and get this project up and running and we look forward to continue working with them over the next year.”

Peter Lammiman from the Blue Mountains Union and Community group welcomed the establishment of the Lithgow and Blue Mountains Air Watch community initiative.

“Air Watch lays the foundation for our communities to have near real time information about local air quality. We look forward to working alongside community participants, the Environment Protection Authority and air quality experts in this exciting venture,” Mr Lammiman said. 

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