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Annual Report 2010-2011 National Environment Protection Council



Annual Report 2010-2011 National Environment Protection Council

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Tabled paper 1729


Tabled papers for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT




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National Environmental Protection Council annual report 2 0 1 0 2 0 1 1140 N T A M B IE N T A IR Q U A L IT Y Northern Territory Report to the NEPC on the implementation of the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure for the Northern Territory by Mr Karl Hampton MLA, Minister for Natural Resources, Environment and Heritage, for the reporting year ended 30 June 2011. established near the satellite city of Palmerston. Like the Casuarina station, the operation is under an arrangement with Charles Darwin University, and in addition a dichotomous TEOM to measure particulates PM10 and PM2.5 also has gas instruments to measure NO, NO2, NOX, CO, SO2 and O3 but lead will not be determined. NATA certified and validated data from this station starting from 1 January 2011 is included in this report. Because the data is not for the entire calendar year, compliance is classified as not demonstrated. A primary long-term Trend Station consistent with the technical requirements of the AAQ NEPM is planned for a more central location in Darwin and will be established around the end of calendar year 2011. This station based in Winnellie at the Bureau of Meteorology will have the same instrumentation as Palmerston for analysing gasses and particulates according to the AAQ NEPM. When operational the Casuarina-based TEOM will be shut down and the Partisol instrument transferred to this primary site and operated on a one day in six basis. Monitoring in Alice Springs has not been undertaken; however, the need for monitoring in the region is being considered in the context of establishing a more comprehensive air quality monitoring network in the Territory. As per Darwin, the overriding pollutant of concern in Alice Springs has been particulates caused by vegetation burning and in the winter months by household heating stoves or fireplaces. Natural gas pipelines have been extended throughout the town and more households have switched over to gas heating, thus reducing the problem. Alice Springs has experienced record-breaking rainfall over all of 2010 and part of 2011 which has resulted in significant vegetation growth. When this vegetation dries out and the weather warms, the risk of bushfires is exacerbated. PART 2 ASSESSMENT OF NEPM EFFECTIVENESS The Ambient Air Quality NEPM has provided a legislative framework to monitor general community exposure to the criteria pollutants in Darwin. The NEPM and the NT Air Quality Monitoring Plan have promoted expansion of the network to include a station in the Palmerston area and another soon to be installed more centrally in Darwin at Winnellie. After researching literature and other jurisdiction experiences, NRETAS decided to install dichotomous TEOM instruments for PM10 and PM2.5 particulate monitoring. This instrument provides near real-time data and provides significant labour savings over gravimetric methods, despite issues with data comparability. PART 1 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEPM AND ANY SIGNIFICANT ISSUES Legislative, regulatory and administrative framework The Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and Sport (NRETAS) is responsible for implementing the NEPM in the Northern Territory through the provisions of the Waste Management and Pollution Control Act and the National Environment Protection Council (Northern Territory) Act 2004. The major pollution source in the Darwin airshed is associated with vegetation burning. Although not directly aimed at managing air quality, the primary tool available to government is enforcement of the Bushfires Act 2009. This Act has several thrusts including minimising the opportunity of wildfires to propagate by enforcing fire-breaks on properties and promoting early dry season controlled burn-offs via fire authorities. A reduction in particulate pollution is an outcome of strategic fire management to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as that occurring in Arnhem Land under the West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement project. The Northern Territorys ambient air monitoring program is undertaken in accordance with the approved monitoring plan. The administrative frameworks for implementation of the NEPM are in place. The monitoring plan will be updated when the planned primary station to be located at the Bureau of Meteorology is operational. Implementation issues arising Implementation issues arising during the 201011 reporting period included: As identified in the Northern Territorys monitoring plan, and corroborated by the gas data to date from the new AAQ NEPM station in Palmerston, the primary air pollutant of concern in the Northern Territory is particulate matter from landscape fires. NRETAS is continuing to discuss fire management regimes in the Darwin region with the Northern Territory Bushfires Council. Significant downtime was encountered with the Casuarina Tapered Element Oscillating Microbalance (TEOM) inoperable for nearly two months in September 2010. Additionally the Casuarina Partisol instrument underwent repairs from early November 2010 to mid-March 2011. As part of an air quality network for the Darwin area, an AAQ NEPM campaign monitoring station has been

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