Ambient air quality in the Surat Basin
This project involves a comprehensive assessment of air quality in the Surat Basin region in Queensland using air quality measurement network and modelling to identify the impact of CSG production activities on air quality in the Surat region.
Watch this video to find out the results from the three year study.
Watch this video for information about live streaming the data (2016).
Reports and papers
Modelling air quality in the Surat Basin, Queensland
This project has provided the first comprehensive assessment of air quality in the Surat Basin using an air quality observation network and detailed air quality chemical transport modelling. This report delivers Task 3 of the project by presenting the air quality modelling component of the study and assessing the overall potential impact of CSG production activities on air pollutants levels in the Surat Basin.
Overall assessment of air quality in Surat Basin region from 2014-2018
This is the first comprehensive ambient air quality study in a CSG region of Australia. The purpose of the study was to assess air quality in this region and to investigate the influence of coal seam gas (CSG) activities on air quality.
- Analysis of data revealed good air quality within the Surat Basin area because pollutant levels were mostly within relevant air quality objectives for a wide range of pollutants that are potentially emitted by CSG activities.
- Concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs,) including benzene, toluene and xylenes (BTX), formaldehyde and acetaldehyde were low and typical of other rural regions in Australia. Chinchilla township site had a higher detection frequency and concentrations of BTX than the gas field and regional sites. The source in Chinchilla is likely to be from vehicle exhaust, as well as domestic and commercial sources within the town.
- CSG activities were a likely contributor to occasional coarse particle (PM10 and total suspended particle (TSP)) exceedances of 24-hr average air quality objectives in the study area along with a range of other activities and sources which are typical of rural areas such as wind-blown dust, dust from agricultural activities including cattle farming and vehicles driving on unsealed roads.
- CSG activities were not found to contribute to occasional fine particle (PM2.5) exceedances of 24-hr average air quality objectives in the region, these were mainly the result of smoke from vegetation fires.
An assessment of ambient air quality in the Surat Basin, Queensland
An interim report on the analysis of data collected during September 2014 – December 2016. Read the fact sheet in the Extras section for key findings.
Ambient air quality in the Surat Basin - Study design
The purpose of this report is to provide background information about the study design and information about the project outputs for the next phases of this project.
The Appendix of the report contains environmental consultant reports showing measured gas composition, gas combustion composition and water composition (accessible below). These consultant reports were used by CSIRO to review the emission characteristics of CSG-related sources and were provided to CSIRO by Origin Energy. Sampling and analysis of gas and water were undertaken by consultants and were taken from Origin Energy CSG infrastructure. The consultants were engaged by Origin Energy.
Please note that reported surrogates (surr.) are compounds added in the laboratory process for quality control and were not present in the original samples.
Appendix A.1 – Measurements of CSG-related sources and emissionsA.1.1 Radiological surveys
A.1.2 Talinga GPF gas composition and WTF water composition
A.1.3 Emissions Monitoring: Talinga gas combustion emissions
A.1.4 Orana and Talinga wellhead gas and water composition
Air quality assessment in the Surat Basin
Summary of key findings from the analysis of data collected during September 2014 – December 2016.
- Levels of air pollutants measured were generally well below relevant air quality criteria.
- There were no exceedances of carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) or ozone (O3) air quality criteria at any of the regional or gas field sites.
- At gas field sites there were some exceedances of air quality criteria for particles less than 2.5 micrometres (PM2.5), particles less than 10 micrometres (PM10) and total suspended particles (TSP). There were no particle measurements made at regional sites.
- When particle exceedances occurred, the likely cause was investigated and found to be from fires, dust from cattle farming, CSG development and operational activities, other dust sources possibly including unsealed roads and other agricultural activities, as well as some unknown sources.
Methane was measured at the gas field sites as a tracer for CSG-related activities. Methane does not have an air quality criterion as it is not considered to pose a direct risk to human health in the ambient environment.
- CSG emissions from infrastructure and activities were most likely the source of the largest observed methane concentrations at gas field sites. These CSG-related methane peaks were not associated with any exceedance of air quality criteria.
Coal seam gas and air quality in the Surat Basin, Queensland
Presentation given at The Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand conference.
Live stream air quality data from coal seam gas regions
Data from the first comprehensive air quality measurement program in the Surat Basin is now available online for anyone to live-stream.
Assessing air quality using an air monitoring network and modelling
Understanding the impact of CSG production on air quality in the Surat Basin.
This project is now complete.