2016 Australian port or terminal of the year


Air Quality Monitoring

The Port of Townsville is a diverse and multi-cargo port which handles import and export products such as containers, motor vehicles, live cattle, wet and dry bulk commodities and general cargo.

Air emissions may be generated by the handling of some bulk materials as well as from general operations (eg. driving vehicles). A range of measures are taken by both the Port of Townsville Ltd and our port users, to minimise the dust and contaminant emissions generated by port activities.

The Port of Townsville's Boundary Air Quality Monitoring Plan has been designed to characterise air quality in the environment surrounding the port in order to determine the potential exposure of sensitive receptors to dust and air contaminant emissions that could be attributed to port operations.

A number of port users also sample air quality on their sites. The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) also conduct an air quality monitoring program in Townsville and the Port of Townsville utilises this data to expand its understanding and analysis of air quality around Townsville.

You can read here a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions that was compiled by the Port Stakeholder Working Group and released in February 2017- this list will be reviewed and updated every 6 months. 

View the Port of Townsville's Boundary Air Quality Monitoring Plan

View a map of the  port monitoring stations

Go to the Queensland Government's Department of Environment and Heritage Protection site for hourly air quality data

Air Quality Monitoring Equipment

The Port of Townsville uses three types of equipment to monitor air emissions:

High Volume Air Samplers
  • Electrically powered equipment that sucks air in at a set rate and collects any air particles on sampling paper over a 24 hour period every 6 days (ie. 60-61 samples a year)
  • Two different size heads (ie sample inlets) give us different information
    • PM10 inlet collects only material that is less than 10 microns in diameter, these particles are inhalable
    • TSP (total suspended particles) collects material in the air less than 100 microns in diameter suspended in the air
  • Filter paper is collected and analysed at a NATA certified laboratory
  • Analysed for TSP or PM10 content depending on head
    • PM10 analysed for arsenic, cadmium, lead, manganese, nickel
    • TSP analysed for arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, manganese, nickel, zinc
    • Located at 3 sites - Coast Guard, Lennon Drive and Environment Park, each have a TSP and PM10 machine
    • Monitoring since December 2011 at Coast Guard, June 2012 at Environment Park and June 2014 at Lennon Drive

Guideline = Environmental Protection (Air) Polity (EPP Air)  2008 for:

  • TSP annual average = 90 μg/m3
  • Lead in TSP annual average = 0.5 μg/m3
  • PM10 24 hr = 50 μg/m3
  • Arsenic in PM10 annual average = 0.006 μg/m3
  • Cadmium in PM10 annual average = 0.005 μg/m3
  • Manganese in PM10 annual average = 0.16 μg/m3
  • Nickel in PM10 annual average = 0.02 μg/m
TEOM (Tapered Element Oscillating Microbalance)
  • Electrically powered equipment that sucks air in 24/7 all year at the Coast Guard
  • Has a PM10 head (DEHP/DSITI) share our compound and have a TEOM with a TSP head)
  • Live data feed with data publically available. Click Here.
  • No analysis conducted – is continually analysed in the machine for the PM10 amount
  • Has been at Coast Guard since Jan 2012
  • Was previously at Berth 10 (since 1994)
  • Guideline = EPP Air 2008 for: PM10 24 hour = 50 μg/m3
Dust Deposition
  • Unpowered equipment - ie. a jar with a glass funnel that sits and collects any material that is in the air, that would fall on surfaces (ie. houses)
  • Sample collected monthly
  • Material is tested at a NATA certified laboratory for total insoluble matter as well as metals in material collected (if there is enough material present to analyse).  Total insoluble matter is the recommended measure for nuisance dust / metals analysed are arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead, manganese, nickel and zinc.
  • Six sites around the boundary of the port (Archer Street, Lennon Drive, Nexus Park, Environment Park, Coast Guard, and the Port entrance)
  • Monitoring since Sept 2000 (locations have varied)

All of the equipment used by the Port of Townsville is set up to meet the requirements of AS/NZS 3580 Methods for sampling and analysis of ambient air (there are separate parts re siting requirements, how to operate hi-volume etc.)

Need further information or want to report something you're concerned about?
Contact the Port of Townsville's Manager Environment and Planning on 07 4781 1619 or email