CSIRO has completed a three-year study of air quality in CSG-heavy areas of Queensland.

CSIRO's Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) study included collecting air quality measurements through a network of air monitoring site in the Chinchilla, Miles and Condamine region of Queensland.

Specialised instruments measured a wide range of pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particles and a range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the atmosphere.

Analysis of data revealed good ambient air quality within the Surat Basin area, with pollutant levels mostly within relevant air quality objectives.

“However, CSG activities are a likely contributor to occasional coarse particle matter events similar to a range of other regional activities and sources which are typical of rural areas,” CSIRO Senior Research Scientist, Dr Sarah Lawson said.

Concentrations of VOCs such as benzene, toluene and xylenes, commonly known as BTX, as well as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde were low and typical of other rural regions in Australia.

Chinchilla township site had the highest concentration of BTX and the source is likely to be mainly from vehicle exhaust, as well as domestic and commercial sources within the town.

“This study provides the largest contribution of air quality data for this region to date, and provides the community with important information about the levels and sources of air pollutants in a CSG region in Australia,” CSIRO Research Director Onshore Gas and GISERA Director, Dr Damian Barrett said.

The data was streamed live to the Queensland Department of Environment and Science website.