Southwest Environmental
Level 26, 1 Bligh Street, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia
Phone: 0283137132            Email:    
Environmental Consultancy Services to Industry, Business and Individuals

Air Quality Consultants

Southwest Environmental can provide air quality consultancy services across Australia. With 70% of Australians who live in Urban Communities rating Air Quality as a major concern, it is important to consider Air Impact from an early stage in a projects life cycle.  Indoor air quality is also of concern.

Air Quality Legislation in Australia

The Australian Government's Summary "By world standards, Australia has very clean air. Strategies to manage air pollution in Australia have contributed to reducing the levels of pollutants in our air. However, levels of some pollutants, including ground-level ozone and particulate matter, can still exceed current air quality standards"

The main pollutants considered in Australia are the "criteria air pollutants".

Research has shown that whilst Lead, Nitrogen Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide are steadily decreasing in concentration across Australia, Particulate and Ozone are in some areas increasing, and in breach of Air Quality Standards.

Particulates & Dust

The NSW EPA consider M10 and PM2.5 emissions are responsible for primary particulate matter pollution, which is characterised by a brown atmospheric haze during the cooler months of the year. NOx, VOC, SO2 and ammonia react in the atmosphere to form secondary organic aerosols, nitrate and sulfate compounds, which are collectively known as secondary particulate matter pollution. Fine particulate matter pollution is made up of both primary emissions and secondary organic and inorganic aerosols, which are formed through atmospheric reactions.

A national standard has been established for the measurement of air quality with regards to these fine particulates the key changes to the Ambient Air Quality NEPM are: Amendment of the status of the PM2.5 'advisory reporting standards' to 'standards'.


Ozone is one of the few pollutants that is actually worsening in Australia. In an report issued by the New South Wales clean air forum show that exceedences of the ozone standards occur throughout the warmer months only, peaking in December and January.

Ozone at ground level is created by reactions between chemicals that have come from other sources. These are called precursors. Bushfires are a potentially significant source of ozone precursors (particularly VOCs) and can significantly contribute to ozone exceedences. For example, Sydney bushfires at the end of 2001 contributed to five of the 19 exceedences of the 1-hour ozone standard in 2001 and two of the nine exceedences in 2002.

Because of the potential for ozone to breach action levels, some developments which have the potential to create ozone precursors directly (industry) or indirectly (transport related), will have to be assessed at the development application stage.

Ozone Levels Sydney

Odour Impact

Odours are a very personal thing. People perceive odours differently and at different strength, they are strongly linked to flavor and this is perhaps why they are hard for more information on odour impacts please see comments relating to odour on our environmental impact assessment page.

Dispersion Modeling

Most city councils will require dispersion modeling for projects where emissions are likely to breach thresholds. Brisbane City Guidance for example  gives the following guidance:

"If the pollutants being emitted are above the local modeling guideline, undertake local air dispersion modeling and compare the ground level concentrations against the ambient air quality design ground level concentrations for general areas and sensitive receiving environments listed"

At Southwest Environmental we use very details dispersion models to provide a US95 concentration at a number of identified key receptors in Sydney for example, so as to provide an indication of likely impacts.

Southwest Environmental use AERMOD modeling, which is respected world wide.

Air Quality Reports

If you require an Air Quality Report of any type, then please contact us to discuss scope, time scales and pricing, we are always happy to discuss.