Following a public consultation in 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Ireland has awarded a contract for up to 44 particulate matter (PM) monitors to enhance and expand the existing monitoring network. The successful bid was submitted jointly by EMS Environmental Monitoring Systems Ltd. (Dublin) and Air Monitors Ltd. (UK). The award is a major component of the EPA’s new National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme (AAMP) which was created under Section 65 of the EPA Act to strengthen the provision of comprehensive, localised air quality information linked to public health advice.
Chris Searles, Managing Director of EMS added: “We specialise in the supply, service and maintenance of environmental monitoring equipment across the whole of Ireland, and we have worked for the EPA over a number of years, so we are naturally delighted with this award.”
This announcement follows a similar contract for Air Monitors to deliver FIDAS PM monitors to the Environment Agency in England. “It is very gratifying to win these contracts,” says Jim Mills, Air Monitors Managing Director. “The FIDAS 200 offers a wide range of advantages over traditional PM monitoring technologies, so it is good to see it being adopted by national networks.”
Air pollution has been estimated to cause the premature death of over 1,500 Irish people every year. “With this in mind,” EPA Director General Laura Burke said at the launch of the most recent EPA Air Quality report: “It is time to tackle the biggest issue impacting on air quality in Ireland – emissions from solid fuels in our small towns around the country.”
Overall, Ireland’s air quality is good by European standards, but it has exceeded World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline values for PM10 and PM2.5 and under EU legislation is required to reduce exposure to PM2.5 levels by 10 per cent between 2012 and 2020. PM monitors have therefore been given a high priority in the AAQM, and the FIDAS instruments represent the first phase of the network enhancement and expansion programme.
FIDAS 200 PM monitors
The FIDAS 200 is a fine dust ambient air quality monitoring device, developed specifically for regulatory purposes; providing continuous and simultaneous measurement of PM1, PM2.5, PM4, PM10, TSP (PMtot), as well as particle number concentration and particle size distribution.
The FIDAS 200 is certified as equivalent to the PM10 and PM2.5 reference methods both by TÜV and MCERTS. In the process of achieving this certification, the FIDAS passed the field tests with the lowest expanded uncertainty for PM10 of any PM monitor previously tested. In addition to the performance advantages of this technology, the operating costs are also extremely low; the requirement for consumables is almost nil, no filter is necessary for example, and power consumption is a fraction of most other PM monitors. In addition, calibration can be conducted quickly and easily in the field.
Prior to the new AAMP, Ireland’s monitoring network only measured those pollutants required under EU Directives, however monitoring requirements can evolve over time and there is concern at a European level regarding the impact of PM1 on air quality. “The flexibility of the FIDAS 200 will therefore provide the enhanced capability required to accommodate future PM monitoring requirements,” comments Jim Mills.
Following the award of the contract to Air Monitors and EMS, the first delivery of FIDAS 200 instruments took place in December 2017, and an installation and training programme is currently under way.