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Environmental Health Interim Baseline Report: Air Quality Strategic Regional Environmental and Baseline Assessment for the Beetaloo Sub-basin



Environmental Health Interim Baseline Report: Air Quality Strategic Regional Environmental and Baseline Assessment for the Beetaloo Sub-basin

Other title

SREBA Beetaloo environmental health interim baseline report: air quality


Browell, R.; Potgierter, J.

Issued by

Northern Territory. Department of Environment, Parks and Water Security. Flora and Fauna Division


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT; Technical Report 34/2022; SREBA reports






This is the interim report for the work undertaken for the Strategic Regional Environmental and Baseline Assessment (SREBA) Environmental Health Air Quality baseline study. The Air Quality baseline is a 12 month monitoring program to measure key air pollutants and meteorological parameters from five air quality monitoring stations were set up within the study area at Manbulloo, Mataranka, Bullwaddy Conservation Reserve, Daly Waters and Elliott. Pollutants measured were selected based on the expected emissions from onshore gas development, and include particulate matter (PM), both suspended particles and deposited dust, and gases (NO2, SO2, H2S, VOCs and aldehydes). The interim report summarises the initial data (~2 months) collected by the air quality monitoring program and outline monitoring methods for each pollutant including details of quality control procedures undertaken. The sample of data collected is not yet sufficient to draw reliable conclusions regarding the baseline air quality in the region. The baseline monitoring program is scheduled to continue for a further 10 months, with a total of 12 months of data collected at the completion. Some recommendations are provided in the report regarding ongoing monitoring, which are to be reassessed at the completion of the 12 month monitoring program.


Made available by via Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT)

Table of contents

1. Introduction - 2. SREBA Air Quality monitoring program - 3. Monitoring results - 4. Ongoing monitoring - 5. Conclusion - 6. References




SREBA; Health; Air Quality; Beetaloo (N.T.)

Publisher name

Northern Territory Government

Place of publication



Technical Report 34/2022; SREBA reports


42 page : colour illustrations and maps ; 30 cm

File type





Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

GHD | Northern Territory Government | 12575570 | Environmental Health Interim Baseline Report: Air Quality 9 3.2 National Environment Protection (Air Toxics) Measure The National Environment Protection (Air Toxics) Measure (the Air Toxics NEPM) provides similar standards for air toxics as the Air NEPM provides for air pollutants. The Air Toxics NEPM standards are specified in Table 3.2. Table 3.2 Standards for air toxics Pollutant Averaging period Maximum standard concentration Benzene 1 year 0.003 ppm Benzo(a)pyrene 1 year 0.3 ng/m3 Formaldehyde 24 hours 0.04 ppm Toluene 24 hours 1 ppm 1 year 0.1 ppm Xylenes (as total of other, meta and para isomers) 24 hours 0.25 ppm 1 year 0.2 ppm 3.3 National Clean Air Agreement Australias Environment Ministers established a National Clean Air Agreement (NCAA) in 2015 to ensure a clean air future for Australia through the introduction of various national collaboration initiatives. The agreement sets a framework for national collaboration on air quality issues to deliver health, environmental and economic outcomes of Australians (DCCEEW, 2022). The NT Department of Environment and Natural Resources is contributing to the NCAA 2021-23 work plan which is building on the collaborative achievements of the previous work plans to respond to air quality priorities. It includes a range of projects across the following four strategic approaches: Standards, Emissions reduction measures, Partnerships and cooperation, and Better knowledge, education, and awareness. 3.4 Current air quality monitoring in the NT The monitoring program in the NT was developed based on the results of a pilot study of air quality in Darwin undertaken by the CSIRO in 2000-2001 (Gras et al., 2001). This study identified fine particles affecting the Darwin region as the primary air pollutant of concern in the NT. Analysis of the 2000-2001 data against the Air NEPM standards indicated that nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone and lead aerosols were not a cause for concern in the Darwin/Palmerston region or regional population centres. Based on the results of the pilot study, the NTG has conducted particulate monitoring in the Darwin region since 2004. This monitoring program was expanded in late 2010 to include compliance grade ambient air quality monitoring near Palmerston. Additional stations were installed at Winnellie in 2012, Stokes Hill in 2017 and Katherine in 2020. Monitoring for lead was not deemed necessary as there are no significant sources close to populated areas in the region and the sale of unleaded petrol ceased in 2002 (NTEPA, 2022). In general, the primary pollutant in Darwin and Palmerston is particulates (PM2.5 and PM10) in smoke from distant and local vegetation burning during the dry season. Monitoring indicates that, other air pollutants (NO2, SO2 and CO) all occur at very low levels compared to large cities in other parts of Australia, while O3 occurs at moderate levels, typically due to natural processes. Details of the four current air quality monitoring stations are provided in Table 3.3 and locations are shown in Figure 3.1.