Thursday, 7 December 2017

New air monitoring equipment is being trialled for six weeks in the Latrobe Valley to provide more information about air quality and improve the Environment Protection Authority’s ability to locate and watch smoke plumes.

EPA is currently testing smoke and gas sensors at its Traralgon station and the equipment will also measure sulphur dioxide – increasing the information the EPA has about air quality impacts from power stations in the Latrobe Valley.

If the trial is successful, EPA will install the new equipment across its Latrobe Valley network – currently made up of five existing air monitoring stations at Churchill, Moe, Morwell East, Morwell South and Traralgon.

These enhancements to the air monitoring network will cover a broader area of the Latrobe Valley and include a number of small, portable air monitors that can be moved to more suitable locations when necessary.

The EPA initiated the trial, and has worked with the Latrobe Valley community to co-design the improvements to the current air monitoring network.

The co-design panel was made up of 36 community members, who discussed ideas and concerns about air quality and monitoring with EPA experts over three sessions – including what to measure and where air monitoring equipment might be stationed to best capture data.

EPA continues to work with and consult the co-design panel as it rolls out the improvements to the air monitoring network, which are expected to be fully operational by 30 June 2018.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio:

“We’re listening to the community and improving the air monitoring network in the Latrobe Valley.”

“The new equipment will provide reliable and accurate information on air quality, to help keep locals healthy and safe.”

Quote attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing:

“This trial will provide the EPA with much-needed information about local air quality – and has been done in consultation with the community.”