Sensors installed to provide clearer picture of Gore air quality
A network of air quality sensors has been installed across Gore, as part of a research project commissioned by Environment Southland and being carried out by NIWA.
The 16 sensors have been fitted to power poles in a grid pattern across the town to provide detailed data about smoke patterns.
Gore has a history of poor air quality, particularly during winter due to home heating and calm conditions that allow the smoke to hang around. Gore had three exceedances of the 24-hour National Environmental Standards for Air Quality in 2020.
Air quality scientist Owen West said domestic wood burners are a major source of air pollutants but limited scientific evidence has been gathered to show how smoke levels vary within Southland towns.
“NIWA carried out a similar project in Invercargill last year and are continuing with that research in 2021. We wanted to conduct similar research to find out a bit more about the smoke patterns in Gore to help identify hot spots of poorer air quality across the town.”
The ODINs (Outdoor Dust Information Nodes) are compact devices that measure particulate matter every minute. The devices installed in Gore will not be feeding back the data in real time, but it will be collected at the conclusion of the project, expected to be in mid-late August.
Owen said the project will provide valuable data for PM2.5 values across the town and help identify areas that need more targeted assistance in the future.
“This type of data is really important in helping us support communities to make the necessary changes to improve our air quality.
“We know that poor air quality has significant health impacts and we all have a part to play in improving it,” Owen said.
PowerNet chief operating officer Justin Peterson said two PowerNet team members spared half a day resourcing the project, completing the installation of 16 air quality sensors. The sensors will remain on the poles for the next six weeks before removal by the team.
“We pride ourselves on helping to sustainably support the region and fully support the work Environment Southland are doing to improve air quality in the community,” he said.
Anybody with questions about the project should contact Environment Southland on 0800 76 88 45.