Good air quality is important for the health and well-being of residents and visitors to the Liverpool Plains Shire. We work with government, industry, and our community to protect air quality and to reduce exposure to air pollution.
Types of pollution
Outdoor air quality is measured by the level of a set of identified air pollutants.
Air pollutants range from dust particles - which can be seen by the naked eye - to gases and microscopic particles.
The set of air pollutants relevant to the Liverpool Plains Shire include:
- carbon monoxide
- nitrogen dioxide
- particles with a diameter of 10 micrometres or less (PM10)
- particles of 2.5 micrometres in diameter or less (PM2.5)
- sulphur dioxide
- total volatile organic compounds measured as atmospheric ozone.
Particulate Matter with a diameter of 10 micrometres (about the 1/5 the diameter of a human hair) or less (PM10), and Particulate Matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres (about 1/20th the size of a human hair) or less (PM2.5) are the most common pollutants in our area.
PM10 particles generally include pollen, mould spores and material that has been manually crushed into a dust, including from agricultural activities that are commonly conducted in our predominantly rural area. PM2.5 particles generally include particles from combustion processes - commonly from fires for example.
Operating a wood-fire in your home
When operated efficiently, wood-fires are an excellent source of home heating and can be a relatively cheap form of home heating. A poorly operated wood-fired heater will use excessive firewood and can emit 100 times more smoke than a correctly operated wood-fired heater.
Council does receive complaints concerning the operation of wood burning heaters and appliances. While they are legal to use, inefficient operation by owners may cause smoke nuisance and excess emissions.
Here are six hot tips for operating a wood-fire in your home:
- Use only small logs of seasoned, untreated wood
- Store wood under cover in a dry, ventilated area
- Maintain a bright flame, never let your heater smoulder
- Increase the air supply if you see your chimney smoking
- Use several small logs rather than one large log
- Make sure your chimney is cleaned at least every two years.
The NSW EPA has published guidelines for the start-up and efficient use of wood burning heaters and appliances.
What Council is doing about air quality issues
We have been addressing local air quality issues through a range of initiatives, including participation in the Namoi Regional Air Quality Advisory Committee. We are also required to consider air quality reports during the Development Application assessment process.
For more information, read the Namoi Air Quality Seasonal Newsletter – Summer 2018/2019
How to report air pollution incidents
Air pollution - including dust from commercial properties and work sites, suspicious odours, and other forms of pollution - can be reported to Council for investigation.
You can report an air pollution incident or lodge an odour complaint online or by contacting Council on 02 67461 755 from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
For after hours or emergency incidents, contact the EPA pollution hotline on 131 555.