Trial of remote, real-time environmental monitoring rolled out

Issued: 22 June 2020

Image showing example of an air monitor with a camera that measures wind speed and direction and is solar-powered.

Example of an air monitor with a camera that measures wind speed and direction and is solar-powered.

A trial of remote, real-time monitoring of air, noise and water quality is being rolled out by Queensland’s environmental regulator.

Rob Lawrence, head of the Department of Environment and Science’s Environmental Services and Regulation division said monitoring equipment had been installed at locations near sites regulated by the department.

“These monitors are able to feed real-time data 24 hours a day, 7 days a week back to compliance officers via a new, easy-to-read dashboard,” Mr Lawrence said.

“The dashboard will help officers get an idea of what’s happening at key locations and make quick, informed decisions about what action might need to be taken.”

Mr Lawrence said six monitors had been deployed so far.

The deployed monitors include several air and noise monitors in South East Queensland that are helping monitor compliance with environmental standards around waste transfer and processing facilities and quarries.

  • An air monitor and a joint air and noise monitor near Pinkenba;
  • Two air monitors near Acacia Ridge; and
  • An air monitor near Oxenford.

Mr Lawrence said the department was already seeing benefits from the trial.

“Real-time monitoring can serve as an early-warning system, giving our compliance officers a head start on taking swift action to prevent environmental harm,” Mr Lawrence said.

“It has also proven an important tool during the COVID-19 pandemic and will no doubt play a wider role in monitoring environmental issues whilst restrictions remain in place – as well as during other times when it may not be safe for our staff to undertake site visits.”­­­

The department is planning to roll out eight further monitors over the next few weeks in Moranbah, Ayr, Home Hill and on the northern Gold Coast.

At this stage, real time monitoring is only available to compliance officers, but could longer term be made available to the community after the trial.

The real time monitoring trial complements a range of other high-tech tools that support compliance activities such as drones and remote sensing.

Graphic showing the real-time monitoring dashboard displaying air quality and wind speed and direction.Open larger image

The real-time monitoring dashboard displaying air quality and wind speed and direction.