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New air pollution monitoring station for Washdyke

June 19, 2008


New air pollution monitoring station for Washdyke

A new permanent air pollution monitoring station has been set up in Washdyke, just north of Timaru by Environment Canterbury.

It will monitor particles (PM10) as well as gases (sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide) in the area. Indications are that the main contribution to air pollution in this area comes from the chimney stacks in the industrial zone. The new monitoring station is in addition to the existing Timaru unit in Anzac Park, where the main source of pollution is from home heating fires and burners.

“Monitoring with a mobile station in Washdyke a few years ago showed that air pollution of PM10 was likely to exceed the National Environmental Standard for Air Quality (NES),” said ECan team leader air monitoring Teresa Aberkane. “The new permanent monitoring station is set up to better understand the air quality in Washdyke.”

PM10 or particulate air pollution is the main air pollution concern in Canterbury towns including Timaru. The NES, set by the Ministry for the Environment, from 2013 allows no more than one day a year when PM10 can exceed the health guideline. In Timaru there have been 30 to 50 exceedences each year over the last decade. Concentrations of PM10 measured at Washdyke and Anzac Park, as well as other Canterbury towns can be tracked daily on www.ecan.govt.nz/todaysair

Monitoring so far this year shows that Washdyke has had just three high pollution nights and a highest recording of 53 (51 qualifies as high pollution), compared to 18 high pollution nights in Timaru with a highest recording there of 109.

The main source of pollution in most Canterbury towns is the burning of wood and coal for home heating. To improve this problem, all newly installed woodburners on properties smaller than two hectares need to be low-emission models, as approved by the Ministry for the Environment. There are no restrictions for existing burners and for properties larger than two hectares. For more information on the rules for burners go to www.ecan.govt.nz/woodburner-rules


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