Environmental Air Quality Monitoring and Programme Design

Posted on 20 Feb 2020

Section 28(1) of the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 (NEMA) places a general duty of care on any person who causes pollution, to take reasonable measures to prevent such pollution from occurring. Air quality monitoring is considered to be a measure to exercise this duty of care, since it will establish the type and volumes of emissions emanating from activities undertaken on-site for identification and implementation of mitigation measures to minimise air pollution.

Air quality monitoring programmes mainly consist of Passive Dust Fall Out Monitoring, with selective implementation of Active Indicative Monitoring.

Passive Dust Fall Out monitoring comprises of standard dust buckets prepared and set up at locations on the borders of the property, relating to the main compass points for periods of 30 (±2) days. The masses of the water soluble and –insoluble components of the material collected are then determined and results are reported as mg/m2/day.

Active Indicative Monitoring refers to a means of active indicative sampling where the field scientist simultaneously measures the concentrations of several parameters by means of a handheld device (EVM, Particulate Meter etc.).

In terms of the dust management plan / programme design, the National Dust Control Regulations, 2013 (published under GNR 827 in GG 36974 of 1 November 2013) under regulation 6(2), specifies that a dust management plan should consist of the following components:

  • Identify all possible sources of dust within the affected site;
  • Detail the best practicable measures to be undertaken to mitigate dust emissions;
  • Detail an implementation schedule;
  • Identify the line management responsible for implementation;
  • Incorporate the dust fallout monitoring plan; and
  • Establish a register for recording follow up actions and responses to the complainants.

Taking into consideration the programme design, the sampling sites should be in an open area, free of structures higher than 1m within a 20m radius of the container stand. It should be away from local sources of pollution and objects that could affect the settling of particulate matter, such as trees, air exhausts and intakes as described by the ASTM: D1739-98 (2017) standard. Accessibility and security to prevent vandalism are major considerations in the selection of a site. Overall the number and location of samplers should be sufficient to monitor dust fall at representative locations around the dust sources, and will include monitoring located at human residences and sensitive businesses, industrial or agricultural locations within a maximum distance of 2 km from the source’s boundary.

Monitoring localities should be placed in order to provide a holistic view of the operational site boundary, where it is recommended that gravimetrical dust fallout be measured taking into account wind directions.

Implementing a formal air quality monitoring programme does not only ensure compliance to relevant regulations and standards for protection of the environment and human health, but also provides the   establishment baseline conditions; confirming if environmental goals are met; identify and mitigate pollution effects; and determining if mitigation measures are adequate.

Environmental Assurance (Pty) Ltd. (ENVASS) offers a wide range of Compliance Monitoring services, including Environmental Air Quality Monitoring and Programme Design, which can be utilised on your next project. If you may require a proposal for these services please do not hesitate to contact our highly qualified and experienced specialists at ENVASS on 012 460 9768 or info@envass.co.za