The State's Environment Protection Policy (Air Quality) 2004 Clause 14 requires modelling of air pollutant dispersion where it is likely that air quality problems may occur. This applies to existing and proposed developments that emit air pollutants. This modelling is usually carried out by specialised consultants with guidance from the EPA Division.
Several numerical models have been approved by the Director of Environmental Management for use in Tasmania. These include
- TAPM (V4.0 or later)
- Calmet/Calpuff (V6.4 or later)
- Ausplume (V6.0) - this model is likely to be replaced by AERMOD in the future.
More information about these models can be found in the Information for Consultants section.
Modelling has been important in the reduction of air pollution in Launceston. Launceston and surrounding urban areas were experiencing unacceptable concentrations of particles in the air during winter months throughout the 1990s. Smoke from residential heating was considered the main cause, but there were contributions from industry, transport, open burning and natural sources.
By modelling the airshed it was possible to confirm the significance of smoke from residential heating and determine how much this would have to be reduced if Launceston was to comply with the National Environmental Protection Measure (NEPM) for air quality.
Armed with this information, it was possible to develop programs that encouraged Launceston residents to use their woodheaters more carefully to minimise smoke or to change from woodheaters to less-polluting forms of heating.
The result was a dramatic improvement in air quality over a relatively short period. By 2008 Launceston was meeting the NEPM requirements for air quality.
Modelling is also used in Tasmania to identify the most appropriate times for planned burns of forest areas to minimise the risk of smoke impacting on populated areas.