Managing and preserving our air quality for the future

16 May 2018

WSP: With the rapid rise in urbanisation, the standard of living in our cities is increasingly tied to the health of environment.

Pollutants – whether in air, water, land or other environmental resources – can dramatically affect the quality of life for the communities in which we work, live and play. Accelerating climate change, mass production and densification are only making the issue more pertinent, with cities from Sydney to Delhi and Shanghai struggling with deteriorating air quality.

As the planners, designers, engineers and scientists of the cities of today and tomorrow, we hold ourselves accountable to the impact that such activities have on our environments and offer solutions to monitor, manage and mitigate issues. In Australia and New Zealand, WSP offers specialist in-house air quality services, including the investigation, monitoring, real-time management, and forecasting of air quality in addition to our existing impact assessment services.

According to Jason Watson, National Team Leader – Air Quality, “State-of- the-art equipment, strategic modelling and risk assessment techniques enable our team to evaluate air quality issues accurately and to engineer workable solutions to complex and potentially costly environmental issues for our clients. Our air quality and risk assessment specialists work closely together to ensure integration of air quality monitoring and modelling with assessment of human health or environmental risks and cost-effective management of air quality issues.

“Our approach to air quality modelling is characterised by our depth of expertise, and a firm commitment to quality assurance and innovation. Our modelling experts have a range of resources available, from initial screening assessments to complex source and meteorological modelling. These techniques are used on a client-specific and project-specific basis to provide our clients with the most appropriate solutions for their needs.”

With a slew of transport and transit projects being rolled out across Australia, WSP is working on modelling air quality on major road, rail and highways. “Currently, approved air quality dispersion models are different across the country’s states and territories, and we are helping our clients achieve compliance with various regulatory bodies and councils,” adds Mr Watson. “Our services are critical to evaluating the infrastructure’s impact on air quality and ensuring our communities thrive.”

In addition to transportation, WSP is involved in producing extensive reports for public and private organisations – developing and modelling on the measure and scale of possible odour or particulate matter impacts on the environment and sensitive receivers like hospitals, schools and residential areas.

Mr Watson adds, “We have provided support in the planning phase on several projects, including odour assessments for proposed wastewater treatment plants, air quality assessments for sand quarries, as well as the development of applications and planning approvals on projects like the Star City (Darling Harbour, NSW) redevelopment.”

For a commercialised business unit of the Queensland Government, we have undertaken particulate matter monitoring (PM10 and PM2.5), and remote monitoring of industrial sites like Moorebank Intermodal where in built alarms and trigger levels enabled real time monitoring and response in the event of dust and other air quality impacts.

“At WSP, we can draw on some of our global air quality specialists and experts who can collaborate and enhance our local experience to deliver technology or innovations that haven’t been used in Australia yet,” concludes Mr Watson.

 

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