Environmental Monitoring Commencement

Environmental monitoring commenced at the Macdonaldtown Gasworks Remediation site in October 2014 when the first project works were undertaken. The environmental monitoring program included the measurement of dust, odour, volatile organic compound, noise and vibration levels at the project site boundaries, on the site itself and at locations in the community. For some contaminants, such as volatile organic compounds, measurements were collected continuously and reported in real time, while for others, samples were collected periodically and taken for analysis to laboratories accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA).

Environmental monitoring results were published two to three weeks after the end of each month under the Environment section of this website.

What was monitored?

Environmental monitoring was performed for the following contaminants and impacts:

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including benzene and volatile total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs);
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) including benzo(a)pyrene;
  • Deposited dust;
  • Total suspended particulate (TSP);
  • Particulate 10 microns in diameter or less (PM10);
  • Asbestos;
  • Odours;
  • Heavy metals;
  • Noise; and
  • Vibration

Where and how often was monitoring conducted?

The following equipment was set up on the western boundary of the site, adjacent to the nearest residences, to monitor environmental conditions:

  • Noise and vibration monitoring stations that each logged continuously;
  • A dust deposition gauge that collected dust continuously for later measurement;
  • A ‘DustTrak’ that measured PM10 continuously; and
  • A direct reading instrument (AreaRAE) that monitored for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) continuously.

In addition to the equipment listed above, the following portable equipment was used for environmental monitoring on and around the site:

  • A photo-ionisation detector (PID) for the daily measurement of total VOCs at various locations during remediation works;
  • A sound level meter for measuring noise at various locations once per fortnight;
  • A high volume air sampler (HVAS) for measuring PM10 near the western boundary over a 24-hour period once per fortnight;
  • A sampling pump for measuring polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) once per month during remediation works; and
  • Asbestos-in-air pumps for when soil containing non-friable, bonded asbestos was being removed.

What criteria are monitoring results compared to?

A number of project goals and limits for contaminants, known as Response Levels (RLs), were established at or below the maximum allowable limits for the contaminants. Environmental measurements collected on and around the site were compared to these RLs. If an RL was reached, procedural actions were followed which usually included a review of work practices or the implementation of additional environmental controls. The responsible Environmental Engineer was notified immediately through an e-mail message to his mobile phone if an RL was reached at one of the monitors that continuously measured noise, PM10 or VOC levels.

How were the Response Levels developed?

A number of national and state regulations, standards and measures were used to develop the project criteria RLs. The applicable documents were:

  • NSW Department of Planning & Environment Project Approval (2013);
  • National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure (1998);
  • National Environmental Protection (Air Toxics) Measure (2011, amended);
  • Technical Framework: Assessment and management of odour from stationary sources (NSW EPA, 2006);
  • NSW DEC Approved Methods for the Modelling and Assessment of Air Pollutants in New South Wales.


Monthly summaries of the environmental monitoring results obtained during the project are provided under the Monitoring Results section. See here