False high dust reading caused by power loss

A power outage has caused a false hazardous dust-particle reading in the Upper Hunter’s air quality monitoring network.

A second false reading was recorded in Aberdeen yesterday with The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) working to ensure power failures do not result in monitoring failures.

The Aberdeen monitor recorded a false hourly PM10 reading of 598 at 6am, the Newcastle Herald reported.

Other monitors in the area recorded good air quality.

According to the OEH, the false reading was caused by a system malfunction in the PM10 after a power outage at the site.

"Only data for this hour at this site was affected," a spokeswoman said.

A false high reading of more than 1000 was recorded in Camberwell last Thursday, however, an accurate hazardous hourly reading of 350 at Maison Dieu near Singleton was confirmed a few hours later.

Calls by Greens MP Cate Faehrmann for a third party to monitor the results from the Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Netwwork (UHAQMN), claiming the that the mining industry cannnot be trusted to monitor itself, have been slammed by the NSW Minerals Council.

"This is a typical cheap shot from the Greens and ignores the fact that the air quality monitoring results from the UHAQMN are already monitored by a third party – the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA),” NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said today.

“The mining industry understands that air quality is an issue in the Upper Hunter. That’s why we funded the UHAQMN – 14 air quality monitoring stations across the upper Hunter Valley monitored by the EPA.  So far the mining industry has committed $2.7 million to the installation and ongoing operation of the UHAQMN.

“The industry is committed to the ongoing funding of the network and we are in the process of finalising ongoing funding arrangements in consultation with the NSW Government,” Galilee said.

As Australian Mining reported early last month, analysis of National Pollution Inventory data shows the number of pollution generating industries rose from nine to 16 between 2001 and 2011 while the number of pollutants increased from 35 to 38.

Analysis suggests residents in the Hunter are being exposed to some toxins at levels more than 100 times higher than they were a decade ago.

Meanwhile new legislation was introduced to strengthen requirements for industry to notify and respond to pollution incidents in the wake of Orica’s hexavalent chromium spill on Kooragang Island.

Image: ABC.net

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