Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) representatives recently visited Port Hedland as part of the preparation for the agency to take over responsibility for the Port Hedland Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network (the Network).

Establishing the Network in 2010 was a key initiative of the Port Hedland Industries Council.

The Network has been instrumental in providing data and information required by the Port Hedland Dust Management Taskforce that assisted in the evaluation of dust impacts on the Port Hedland community and assisted industry to continually improve its approach to dust mitigation.

The network has provided data and information or several Taskforce initiatives including:

  • Development of the Cumulative Airshed Model;
  • Data used in the Health Risk Assessment; and
  • Calibration data for the State Government’s LiDAR trials in Port Hedland in 2017.

Transfer of responsibility of the Network was a recommendation of the 2017 Taskforce Report and is supported by the State Government and PHIC.

The PHIC Dust working group is supporting the transfer of the Network to DWER.

PHIC is committed to the ongoing maintenance of key Network sites to ensure the collection of robust and reliable air quality data for the Port Hedland region in the lead up to the transfer of the network to DWER.

PHIC supports DWER taking a lead on the future of the network as part of the transfer of responsibility.

This would continue the open and accountable approach industry has taken on this matter since PHIC’s inception in 2009 and the establishment of the network and would allow DWER to make its own assessment on the suitability of each of the monitoring sites.

Ongoing access to dust monitoring data within the Port Hedland Air Shed is important to industry and the community.

PHIC considers the purpose of the Network under DWER would be for monitoring not compliance and would not be linked to individual licence conditions.

Moving responsibility of the Network to DWER is expected to take 10 to 12 months.