MONITORING DUST

Monitoring

PHIC members are regulated individually under the EPA Act and work to achieve their individual regulatory requirements according to their individual regulatory conditions.

The establishment of the Port Hedland Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network (the Network) was a key PHIC initiative, with the purpose of monitoring the Port Hedland Air Shed to better understand the impact of industry on the community.

The Network monitors a range of parameters including dust and weather conditions in accordance with Australian or recognised international standards.

The Network is fully funded by PHIC and has been maintained and operated by an independent dust consulting firm since it was established. The consultants are also responsible for site equipment calibration, data storage and data validation and host the web-based platform, which allows the public to access the data collected in real time.

PM10 readings at each of the monitoring sites are shown to the most recent 10-minute average. Data on the Port Hedland Air Shed from the past seven days is also made available.

The Network has operated in its current configuration since 2010 and has provided data and information for several Dust Management Taskforce initiatives including:

  • The development of the cumulative Airshed Model (CAM), and
  • Supported the Department of Health (DoH) 2016 Health risk Assessment.

The Network has also been used by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) to assist in the calibration of  DWER’s LiDAR trials in Port Hedland (2017).

The Network has assisted industry to continuously improve its performance on dust emissions.

Industry is not regulated (from a compliance perspective) based on readings at an Ambient Air Quality monitor, regardless of the location, because of the multiple contributors and sources of dust in Port Hedland.

Transitioning the Network

In the State Government’s response to the Taskforce recommendations, it was accepted that responsibility for the Network be transferred to DWER. We support the transfer of the Network to DWER and a working collaboratively with the agency to ensure a smooth transition.

An industry working Group, comprising PHIC members and DWER representatives has been established and a timeline and process for the transitioning of the Network to DWER commenced in November 2019.

The hand-over to DWER is expected to take 12 months.

PHIC is committed to the ongoing maintenance of the key Network sites to ensure the collection of robust and reliable air quality data in the lead up to the transfer to DWER. We will continue to maintain the transparency and access to information PHIC has strived to ensure since it was established in 2009.

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