Street lamps could one day become Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) air monitoring stations – that’s the vision of a trial currently underway in Melbourne.
The joint trial between EPA and CitiPower has seen air quality sensors placed atop street lamps on the Queen Street Bridge, providing a glimpse into the future of air monitoring.
Sensors used in the trial measure concentrations of fine particles in the air called PM2.5 – a pollutant in smoke, fine dust and vehicle exhaust emissions.
As part of the trial, sensors were placed in custom-built housing and attached to 2 light poles at each end of the Queen Street Bridge.
The air quality data is transmitted via secure radio communication, which is relatively immune to telecommunication outages that can interrupt data flow in traditional monitoring networks.
The partnership supports the building of a smarter, more responsive network by harnessing new technologies to collect better data.
EPA is the leading authority on air quality monitoring in Victoria and operates continuous network of permanent air monitoring stations around the state. Air quality information is available at .
Quotes attributable to Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio
“At around $200 each and slightly larger than a matchbox, the sensors are representative of a range of new low-cost, compact technologies coming into the market.”
“Sensors of this kind may one day offer an effective way to help EPA monitor air quality in more places throughout Victoria, especially where people live and work.”
Quote attributable to EPA Group Manager of Applied Sciences Dr Anthony Boxshall
“If we find that these sensors can provide useful, reliable data at a low operational-cost, we’ll look at incorporating them into our existing air monitoring network.”
Quote attributable to CitiPower General Manager of Electricity Networks Steven Neave
“We’re also exploring opportunities with EPA to deploy air quality sensors as smoke detection devices in high fire risk areas.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020