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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 1 93 W A A IR TO X IC S Western Australia Report to the NEPC on the implementation of the National Environment Protection (Air Toxics) Measure for Western Australia by the Hon. Bill Marmion MLA, Minister for Environment, for the reporting year ended 30 June 2011. PART ASSESSMENT OF NEPM EFFECTIVENESS The Air Toxics NEPM has been effective in highlighting the need to investigate air toxics concentrations and providing monitoring investigation levels to which the results can be compared. The monitoring investigation levels provide a nationally consistent benchmark for assessing and comparing the concentrations of ambient air toxics from diverse monitoring sites and are an effective tool to inform government policy and programs on appropriate abatement actions. Monitoring for air toxics in Western Australia has primarily been undertaken as part of specific studies. These complementary monitoring programs are designed to meet a number of local objectives as well as Air Toxics NEPM requirements. To satisfy program objectives when developing and implementing these studies, alternative methodologies outside the NEPM monitoring protocol have also been utilised. The monitoring results from these studies are invaluable when assessing ambient air toxic concentrations across Western Australia. Reporting on assessment and action if any planned or taken to manage air toxics The results of Air Toxics NEPM compliant monitoring in 200506 as well as the additional complementary air quality studies in 200708 indicated that air toxics levels in Perth are low compared to international standards and below Air Toxics NEPM Monitoring Investigation Levels. Due to these findings, no additional Air Toxics NEPM compliant monitoring has been undertaken during the past twelve months. Repeat identification of stage 1 and stage 2 sites No repeat identification of stage 1 and stage 2 sites is currently planned. The initial desktop analysis identified 13 stage 1 sites for formaldehyde, of which three met the ranking criteria for PAH stage 1 sites. No stage 1 sites were identified for benzene, toluene or xylene. Two priority categories (traffic volume and wood heater density) were used to identify two stage 2 sites. The results of the air toxics monitoring at these two stage 2 sites showed that the annual average concentrations for formaldehyde and benzo(a)pyrene were below Air Toxics NEPM Monitoring Investigation Levels. As these two sites are representative of the stage 1 sites initially identified, repeat identification of stage 1 and stage 2 sites is not needed at this time. PART 1 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NEPM AND ANY SIGNIFICANT ISSUES Legislative, regulatory and administrative framework In Western Australia, the Air Toxics NEPM is implemented by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) under the National Environment Protection Council (WA) Act 1996 and the Western Australian Environmental Protection Act 1986. Additionally, the draft State Environmental (Ambient Air) Policy is a non-statutory policy developed under section 17(3) of the Western Australian Environmental Protection Act 1986 to be applied on a whole-of-government basis. The policy aims to protect environmental values of ambient air, including human health. This was initially commenced to provide policy context to the Ambient Air Quality NEPM, but has been expanded to also incorporate the environmental protection goals of the Air Toxics NEPM. To achieve this end, the policy outlines values, objectives, criteria and provides direction for monitoring, managing and reducing pollutant and waste emissions. The draft policy was released for public and stakeholder comment by the Minister for Environment in June 2009. The WA Environmental Protection Authority is currently in the process of finalising the policy having regard to the submissions received. Air toxics emissions are also managed through the Perth Air Quality Management Plan (Perth AQMP), a non-statutory mechanism established by the West Australian Government. The objective of the Perth AQMP is to ensure that clean air is achieved and maintained throughout the Perth metropolitan region. The Perth AQMP identifies that, to achieve an overall improvement in Perths air quality, further studies are required to determine major sources and concentrations of air toxics in the Perth metropolitan region. The initiatives within the Perth AQMP are complementary to the Air Toxics NEPM. Implementation issues arising In Western Australia, the monitoring of air toxics using methods recommended by the Air Toxics NEPM has been limited due to the cost of such methods. The cost of alternative methods, such as passive sampling, is significantly less. Passive sampling for air toxics in Western Australia has been conducted at several sites, in addition to Air Toxics NEPM compliant monitoring. Although this passive sampling does not meet the Air Toxics NEPM requirements, the results provide useful information on background levels in urban areas.

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