2016 was a fantastic year for Pacific Environment’s involvement in the Transport sector. Here is an update of some of our key projects and studies.
We would also like to take this opportunity to say that we look forward to working with you in 2017!
The Pacific Environment Team
Air quality assessment for Western Sydney Airport EIS
The Australian Government has announced that Badgerys Creek will be the site for the Western Sydney Airport (WSA) (http://westernsydneyairport.gov.au/). The airport will service both domestic and international air traffic, with development staged in response to passenger demand. The initial development of WSA would include a single runway and capacity for 10 million passengers per year. In the long term, it would have two runways and facilities to cope with around 80 million passenger movements per year.
Pacific Environment was engaged to prepare local air quality and greenhouse gas assessments to support the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the two development stages. The contributions of all airport operations to local air pollution were calculated using the US Federal Aviation Administration’s Emissions and Dispersion Modelling System (EDMS). The largest contributor to on-site emissions was aircraft take-off and landing.
However, potential exceedances of air quality criteria were predicted to occur due to emissions from ground support equipment. Mitigation measures for such activities were considered, along with ambient air quality monitoring to address community concerns.
Work on the Sydney WestConnex projects (https://www.westconnex.com.au/) has continued to be a major focus for Pacific Environment in 2016. Highlights during the year included:
- The granting of planning approval for the $3.8 billion M4 East and $4.3 billion New M5 projects in February and April respectively. Pacific Environment prepared the air quality assessments for the project EISs.
- Commencement of work on the EIS for the $7.2 billion M4-M5 Link project.
- The establishment of new ambient air quality monitoring stations – at Ramsey Street in Haberfield and alongside the City West Link in Rozelle – to support the M4-M5 Link project. Pacific Environment manages the WestConnex air quality monitoring network.
The air quality assessments for the M4 East and New M5 projects involved the use of the Austrian GRAMM-GRAL model.
Prior to these EISs this model had not been used extensively in Australia.
The model will also be used for the assessment of the M4-M5 Link project, and probably for future projects in Australia in which emissions from multiple road traffic sources and tunnels are a consideration.
Pacific Environment also undertook plume rise studies to ensure that the tunnel ventilation outlets for the WestConnex projects were compliant with the requirements of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
GRAL optimisation study
To inform future assessments for road projects involving the use of GRAM-GRAL, NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) commissioned Pacific Environment to identify and assess potential improvements to the application of the model in Australia. This study, which began in 2016, is evaluating the performance of the model in relation to dispersion from surface roads, and includes the following:
- For meteorological modelling, a comparison of GRAMM performance with that of the more widely used CALMET model.
- For dispersion modelling, a comparison of GRAL performance with that of a more widely used CALINE-based model (CAL3QHCR).
- Detailed modelling based on real-world traffic inputs.
- Comparison of model predictions with measurements at roadside and background monitoring stations using Australian Standard analysers. Additional spatial data on pollution is being obtained using a network of passive samplers.
- Clear recommendations regarding the configuration and application of GRAMM and GRAL to complex urban road networks in Australia.
In-cabin NO2 concentrations in Sydney road tunnels
RMS commissioned Pacific Environment to simultaneously measure in-vehicle and outside-vehicle nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations on a route through Sydney that included several major tunnels.
Tests were conducted on nine cars to assess how vehicle characteristics and ventilation settings affected in-vehicle NO2 concentrations and the in-vehicle-to-outside vehicle (I/O) concentration ratio. NO2 was determined using a direct measurement technique – cavity attenuated phase shift (CAPS) spectroscopy – that gave a high temporal and spatial resolution.
The results from this study will be used to inform the design and operation of road tunnels in Australia. The study was published in the journal Atmospheric Environment (citation below).
Martin A N, Boulter P G, Roddis D, McDonough L, Patterson M, Rodriguez M, Mattes A, Knibbs L D (2016). In-vehicle nitrogen dioxide concentrations in road tunnels. Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 144, pp. 234-248.
Road traffic noise assessment methodology
Pacific Environment has worked with RMS and other stakeholders on the implementation of a new, standardised road traffic noise assessment methodology. The methodology was developed to provide more concise and streamlined reporting capabilities across the industry.
Pacific Environment’s background noise monitoring work has also been adopted as part of policy guidance to provide standardised descriptions of the background environment within a construction noise assessment protocol for road projects.
Road traffic noise assessments
During 2016, Pacific Environment’s noise team undertook a number of road traffic noise assessments for projects. These included Mona Vale Road Stages 2 and 3, Airport East Project, General Holmes Drive Upgrade, Nelson Bay Road widening and Lachlan Valley Way Widening.
Pacific Environment Limited changes name to EnviroSuite Limited
In December 2016, Pacific Environment Limited announced a re-branding of the public company to a new name, EnviroSuite Limited. The new company name, EnviroSuite (ASX:EVS), is an extension of the organisation’s key product offering; an environmental monitoring and analytical software as a service distributed under the same name.
In light of the name change, all Australasian operations of EnviroSuite Limited will continue to operate under the name ‘Pacific Environment’ with little change to current branding.