Blue Mountains and Lithgow Air Watch

Blue Mountains and Lithgow Air Watch is an air quality monitoring project that will provide a better picture of air quality in the region.

The project began in May 2019 and will run for 12 months. Crucial to this project are the EPA's partners, including a range of Blue Mountains community groups and volunteers, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), Blue Mountains City and Lithgow councils, Doctors for the Environment, Western Sydney University and the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District. 

Air Watch includes one temporary air quality monitoring station in Katoomba which measures particles (PM10 and PM2.5), sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, oxides of nitrogen, visibility and meteorology.

Twelve KOALA (Knowing Our Ambient Local Air) air quality sensors complement the air quality station. The 12 sensors are installed in Katoomba, Springwood, Wentworth Falls (Boddington Hill) and Lithgow to measure particles (PM10 and PM2.5) and carbon monoxide. Local businesses, schools and volunteers are hosting and helping to maintain the KOALA sensors throughout the project. 

Access the data and check local air quality

Data from the Katoomba air quality monitoring station is available in near real-time on the DPIE website. You can search and download data for particles (PM10 and PM2.5), sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, oxides of nitrogen, visibility and weather through the DPIE website. It should be noted that the data on the DPIE website is shown with the averaging period that is consistent with the national standards, for example particles are shown as rolling 24-hour averages.

KOALA air quality sensors are reliable, low-cost sensors that complement the Katoomba air quality monitoring station. The KOALA website provides an indication of current local air quality by showing the latest reading of fine particles (PM2.5) in micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3) of air. The KOALA sensors provide a good indication of air quality in the area, but the readings should not be compared to national standards.

The KOALA sensors are solar battery powered and typically communicate the readings at 30 to 40-minute intervals. The current battery power level of the sensor and last time of communication for each KOALA sensor is shown on the left panel on the KOALA website.

We can all help improve local air quality

We can all play a part in keeping our air clean. Find out what you can do to help reduce particle pollution and your exposure to it. Changing our habits, such as reducing wood smoke emissions and reducing motor vehicle emissions, can help to improve local air quality.

More information 

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