Motueka, Riwaka and Brooklyn air quality study

We’re undertaking monitoring in the Motueka area to better understand if there is an air quality issue.

Council commissioned the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) to monitor air quality in Motueka, Riwaka and Brooklyn during May to August 2019. This was to monitor smoke emissions (particulate matter, PM10 and PM2.5) associated with wood burning, traffic and fires.

A network of 22 outdoor air quality sensors – called ODINs (outdoor dust information node) – were installed on street lights and power poles around the area. NIWA used weather station data to track daily air movement and temperatures. The collected data enabled NIWA’s air quality scientists to analyse how much pollution residents are exposed to.

The results of the monitoring indicate:

  • Motueka does appear to have an air quality issue with some locations having smoke concentrations in excess of current Air Quality NES guidelines (PM10) and anticipated future legislation (PM2.5).
  • There is evidence of rural burning in the surrounding countryside, particularly around Riwaka, making a short-term and localised but significant contribution to poor air quality which may require further investigation.

Read the Full Report: Spatial Variation of PM in Motueka - Winter 2019 (pdf, 1.4 MB)

Following the recommendations in the report, Council will be undertaking a monitoring programme in autumn/winter 2020 to establish a baseline of information using the Council’s Air Quality NES accredited monitoring station. The monitoring station will be moved to the east side of the township where the highest smoke concentrations were recorded. This will confirm if there is an air quality issue that requires permanent monitoring and a need to introduce management tools. The Air Quality NES only requires the identification and monitoring of airsheds where air quality standards are likely to be breached.

In addition to monitoring, staff will continue to provide education and best practice advice regarding home heating and outdoor burning as part of the Council’s wider air quality work programme.

For more information on this study, please contact Anna MacKenzie (Resource Scientist) or Diana Worthy (Policy Planner).

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