The Esperance Port undertakes an extensive range of environmental monitoring on a regular basis. Monitoring data is interrogated to identify trends and implement proactive environmental management.
Monitoring data is assessed through comparison to relevant environmental legislation that includes criteria listed in the operating licence. EPSL undertakes the following environmental monitoring:
Extensive dust monitoring is conducted with a range of equipment (dust deposition gauge, HVAS (High Volume Air Sampler) and TEOM (Tapered Element Oscillating Microbalance)) and at various frequencies (monthly, weekly and real-time) to assess an array of parameters (total dust, PM10 and lead, nickel, iron and sulphur).
Dust deposition monitoring has been conducted as required by the EPSL Environmental Licence since November 2004. High Volume sampling commenced in August 2007 and TEOM sampling commenced in May 2007. Dust monitoring locations are shown in the photos below.
Location of dust deposition gauges and monitored rainwater tanks.
Dust deposition, is measured in mg/mē/month. Each month samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis of total dust, metals and sulphur. There are no applicable standards for dust deposition. However, the data provides a useful indication of localised trends over time.
High Volume Samplers (HVAS) are operated for 24 hour periods with air drawn through a filter paper at a measured rate. The filter paper can be analysed for dust, metals and sulphur. The 24 hour licence criteria for nickel is 0.14 ĩg/m3 set by state government for the protection of community and environmental health, with no exceedances allowed. TEOM is a real time measurement of PM10 (fine dust fraction) measured using a micro balance. .
No analysis of metal or sulphur is possible with TEOM monitoring. The national ambient air quality standard for PM10 (designed to be protective of human health) is 50ĩg/m3 for a 24-hour period, and may not be exceeded more than five days per year.
High Volume Sampler
The following 2007 report reviewed the historical dust monitoring data to form the basis for the existing Air Quality Monitoring Plan.
Since 2007 the number of monitoring locations has increased for dust gauges, rainwater tanks, HVAS and the Port currently conducts silica monitoring at sites 1, 2 and 4.
The format of air quality reporting has been adapted to assist with proactive environmental management within the Port, meet community expectation and to exceed the reporting conditions of the operating licence.
Monthly Air Quality Reports
Offsite environmental noise levels are monitored quarterly (as of July 2011).
Following detection of high lead and nickel levels in sediments near a discharge pipe in early 2007 a sampling and analysis plan was developed to determine the spatial pattern of contamination in sediments (Stage 1 Report). The spatial pattern of nickel and lead contamination was localised to Berths 1 and 2. Subsequent studies have found the lead to be potentially bioavailable (Stage 2) but further testing indicated the sediments were not toxic to early life stages and the growth of several sensitive species of marine biota (Stage 3). However, the high level of contamination led to the current operating licence requiring the Port to monitor the marine sediments on an annual basis with the first report due in December 2011.
Weather data is interrogated with environmental monitoring data in order to interpret results eg was wind blowing from the port towards environmental monitoring equipment at the time of sampling.
The wind direction varies greatly between seasons and in particular between summer and winter. Summer is dominated by south-easterly winds and winter is dominated by north-westerly winds.
Winter Wind rose
Summer Wind rose
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