Air quality (outdoor)
What the results tell us for Tumbarumba
Tumbarumba Shire generally enjoyed good air quality during the reporting period. The two major reasons for reduced air quality over that time were bushfires in January 2003 and wood smoke from domestic heaters during colder months. No monitoring was carried out on the effects of these events on air quality, nor was any general monitoring carried out.
Tumbarumba Shire Council commissioned a study during the reporting period to examine the odour impacts from the sewage treatment plant on a proposed residential development.
Air quality reduced by smoke
Bushfires in January 2003 caused a significant amount of smoke pollution over a wide area of the shire. Whilst there were no reports of respiratory problems identified at the time of the fires, relevant health authorities provided radio announcements to advise residents of the most appropriate management options. Hazard reduction burns were conducted within the shire, but were generally of low frequency adjacent to populated areas. Affected residents were advised of the timing of reduction burns in advance of the activities.
Domestic usage of wood heaters in the shire was high during its relatively cold winters, and as no natural gas was available, there were limited alternatives to their use. Although the smoke from these fires is often trapped under inversion layers, Council received relatively few complaints related to wood smoke from heaters.
Odour study conducted on the Sewage Treatment Plant
Council commissioned a study to assess the impact of a proposed residential development located within 400 metres of the Tumbarumba Sewage Treatment Plant. The consultant was asked to assess odour impacts in the vicinity of the Plant with regard to three issues:
- the impact of the existing plant on surrounding land use
- potential impacts on future developments
- potential impacts of expansion of the plant on existing and future developments.
At the end of the study, the consultant concluded (Holmes Air Sciences 2003) that "the existing operations are unlikely to cause any substantial impacts in the development area. For… extended plant scenarios, the two-odour unit goal is exceeded over part of the development site. While this would not necessarily cause a problem, it highlights the fact that a medium density development may need to be arranged so that the odour impacts are minimised." No development had commenced by the end of the reporting period.
About the data
Information on air quality was provided by Tumbarumba Shire Council.
The NSW Department of Environment and Conservation Environment Protection Agency website (www.environment.nsw.gov.au/air/odour.htm) defines the odour goals cited in the Sewage Treatment Plant study.
Holmes Air Sciences (2003) Air Quality Impact Assessment Tumbarumba Sewage Treatment Plant, Draft Report to Tumbarumba Shire Council.