On a hot, humid afternoon with little breeze and no bushfires all nine of the district's air quality monitors sent out alerts to warn residents PM10 levels exceeded national air quality standards.
The alerts started 5:00pm on Monday afternoon and are released when PM10 levels ( a measurement of air quality based on larger particles in the air) reach more than 50ug/m3.
By 7:00pm that night all of Singleton’s monitors located at Jerrys Plains, Camberwell, Warkworth, Maison Dieu, Mount Thorley, Bulga and the three in town had sent out alerts. Mount Thorley, Singleton NW and Maison Dieu recorded PM10 levels above 75 which rates the air quality as very poor.
In fact at 6:00pm at Maison Dieu the PM10 level had reached a hazardous 223.7 with a wind speed of 4.8km/h. Even an hour later the PM level at this monitor had only dropped to 120 still in the hazardous zone.
Member of the Upper Hunter Air Quality Advisory Committee and Bulga resident John Krey said he would be asking that it is all very well to monitor the air quality but what is the Office and Environment and Heritage (OEH) doing to ensure the community does not have to live with deteriorating air quality. “Obviously Monday night’s alerts were due entirely to mine dust so what will the OEH do to prevent these events,” he said.