Sulphur dioxide concentrations

N.B. you are viewing the archived 2015 report.

Return to the current 2017 report.

Key finding

Sulphur dioxide levels in all regions do not exceed the National Environmental Protection Measures (NEPM) Air Quality Standards except for Mount Isa where the 1-hour and 24-hour levels exceed the NEPM standards occasionally each year due to smelting operations.

Sulphur dioxide originates mainly from industries such as smelting of mineral ores, oil refining and coal-fired power generation. Motor vehicle fuels in Australia have low sulphur content and are of less concern than industry as a source of sulphur dioxide. The last coal-fired power plant at Swanbank closed in 2012.

Since 2008, maximum 24-hourly ambient concentrations in South East Queensland and Gladstone have been less than 25% of the NEPM Air Quality Standard.

Higher concentrations are observed in the Gladstone and Mount Isa regions as a result of industrial emissions.

Gladstone levels are also below the NEPM standard rarely reaching half the standard for the 1-hour standard since 2009.

While sulphur dioxide 1-hour and 24-hour levels in Mount Isa have exceeded the NEPM standards on a number of occasions each year due to smelting operations located adjacent to the city, they have consistently remained below (25%) the annual average standard. The number of exceedences in a particular year depends on a number of factors, including weather conditions, smelter production levels and the extent of sulphur dioxide capture for sulphuric acid production.

More information:

Indicator: Trends in number of exceedences of NEPM air quality standards for sulphur dioxide concentrations, and annual average concentrations

Trends in number of exceedences of National Environmental Protection Measures (NEPM) Air Quality Standards for sulphur dioxide concentrations, and annual average concentrations, by airshed for 2000-2014.

Download data from Queensland Government data