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  Council » Policies and Plans » Rules and regulation » Waikato Regional Plan » Waikato Regional Plan (online version) » 6.4 Guidelines for Assessment » 6.4.2 Guidelines for Assessing Particulate Matter

6.4.2 Guidelines for Assessing Particulate Matter

6.4.2.1 Matters to be Considered in Determining the Likelihood of Adverse Effects from Particulate Deposition for Resource Consent Applications

In assessing a resource consent application for an existing activity, Waikato Regional Council will consider one or more of the following types of information:

  1. History of complaints regarding the discharge.
  2. Experiences of Waikato Regional Council2 with the discharge and information held by this Council or a territorial authority regarding past compliance.
  3. Information from community consultation undertaken by the discharger.
  4. Information from community surveys undertaken by the discharger.
  5. Deposition modelling results.
  6. Whether the best practicable option is being applied for the discharge.
  7. Records of emission control improvements undertaken, and those improvements proposed for the future.
  8. Past experiences and knowledge of Waikato Regional Council of the particulate matter effects generated from existing sites of a similar nature and scale.

Advisory Note:

  • The information Waikato Regional Council will require to assess any application under this Plan is set out in Section 8.1.5 of this Plan.

6.4.2.2 Courses of Action to Assess Particulate Matter Complaints for Permitted Activities

In the event of receiving complaint(s) regarding particulate matter discharges from activities permitted by rules in this Plan, Waikato Regional Council will take the approach outlined in parts a) to e) below, or undertake aspects of this approach, to determine whether or not the particulate matter is objectionable to the extent that it is causing an adverse effect. This approach is distinct from the resource consent approach detailed in Section 6.4.2.3. The approach involves more rapid action and response procedures. For example, the assessment of frequency in a) i) below would substitute use of particulate matter diaries and complaint response with proactive inspections by council officers targeted at times when particulate matter discharges are most likely to occur. It also places a greater duty on the discharger to remain within the permitted activity conditions in Section 6.1.8. The criteria that Waikato Regional Council will apply when assessing whether a discharge of particulate matter is objectionable to the extent that it is causing an adverse effect; and the standard of evidence required for enforcement action remains the same for both permitted activities and consented activities:

 

  1. Waikato Regional Council3 will make an assessment of the situation. This assessment will take into account the:
    1. frequency of the particulate matter discharge4
    2. intensity of the particulate matter discharge
    3. duration of the particulate matter discharge
    4. nature of the particulate matter discharge
    5. location of the particulate matter discharge5
    6. any previous validated particulate matter complaints relating to the same site.
  2. In the event that the discharger or complainant(s) dispute Waikato Regional Council’s assessment of the particulate matter problem, or the problem is ongoing, this Council6, if it so deems necessary and the dissatisfied party or parties, is/are prepared to share costs with Waikato Regional Council, a further assessment7 by an independent expert will be undertaken.
  3. If through the assessments made in a) and/or b) it is agreed that an adverse effect from particulate matter exists, Waikato Regional Council will require the discharger to identify and implement an appropriate solution to control the adverse effect.
  4. In the event that an incident or incidents involving the discharge of particulate matter is/are deemed to be objectionable to the extent that there is/are adverse effects and where agreement can not be reached under b) and c) of this section, Waikato Regional Council will take the following approach:
    1. Waikato Regional Council will inform the discharger that action is required to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse effects from the discharge. Waikato Regional Council will outline a timeline for the discharger to undertake and complete that work. This may be formalised through the use of abatement notices
    2. If the discharge continues to cause adverse effects and timeframes are not met, then enforcement proceedings may be initiated. Waikato Regional Council may also require the discharger to apply for resource consent under the relevant rule in this Plan.
  5. For the avoidance of doubt, if through the assessments made in a) it is determined that an incident resulted in an adverse effect, Waikato Regional Council may take enforcement action, irrespective of the processes in a) and/or b), even if the incident was a ‘one-off’.

6.4.2.3 Courses of Action to Assess Particulate Matter Complaints for Activities that hold a Resource Consent

In the event of receiving complaint(s) regarding particulate matter from activities that hold a resource consent, Waikato Regional Council will take the approach outlined in parts a) to f) below, or undertake aspects of this approach, to determine whether or not the matter is objectionable to the extent that it has caused or is causing an adverse effect.

 

  1. Waikato Regional Council8 will make an assessment of the situation. This assessment will take into account the:
    1. frequency of the particulate matter discharge
    2. intensity of the particulate matter discharge
    3. duration of the particulate matter discharge
    4. nature of the particulate matter discharge
    5. location of the particulate matter discharge
    6. any previous validated particulate matter complaints relating to the same site.
  2. In the event that the discharger or complainant(s) dispute Waikato Regional Council’s assessment of the particulate matter problem or the problem is ongoing then further assessments will be made by this Council9.
  3. If through the assessments made in b) it is agreed that an adverse effect from particulate matter exists, Waikato Regional Council will encourage the discharger to identify and implement appropriate solutions to control the adverse effect.
  4. Waikato Regional Council may request that the discharger keep a complaint register and that the discharger responds to complaints to identify the sources or causes of the objectionable particulate matter.
  5. Waikato Regional Council may request people living and working in the area to keep a diary that notes the details of any occurrence of particulate matter discharge and the effect it is having on them.
  6. Waikato Regional Council may carry out or commission a public survey or field investigation to determine the extent and impact of the discharge.
  7. The discharger may be required to undertake deposition monitoring at appropriate locations in accordance with the Draft ISO standard 4222.2, Measurement of Atmospheric Dustfall – Horizontal Deposit Gauge Method or total suspended particulate monitoring in accordance with DSIR Necal Method 101.

6.4.2.4 Courses of Action – Community Triggered Response

Where complaint(s) concerning particulate matter are deemed to be justified (through Section 6.4.2.2) and where there is an established working relationship between the discharger and the local community, a community triggered response to complaints could be developed as follows:

  1. The complainant could go directly to the discharger to lodge a complaint.
  2. The discharger could respond to complaints to identify the sources or causes of the particulate matter that is resulting in the adverse effect.
  3. The complainant and/or community and the discharger can decide on whatever action is necessary to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse effect of the discharge.

6.4.2.5 Courses of Action for Considering Enforcement Regarding Particulate Matter

In the event that complaint(s) concerning adverse effects from discharges of particulate matter are deemed to be justified through application of Section 6.4.2.2 and/or where agreement cannot be reached under Section 6.4.2.3 and/or the discharger has not complied with condition(s) on the resource consent, then Waikato Regional Council will normally take the following approach:

  1. The discharger will be asked to take whatever action is necessary to avoid, remedy, or mitigate the adverse effects from the discharge. Waikato Regional Council will outline or negotiate with the discharger a timeline to undertake and complete that work.
  2. If the discharge continues to be objectionable to the extent that it is causing an adverse effect and/or timeframes are not met, then enforcement proceedings may be initiated.
  3. For the avoidance of doubt, if it is determined tht an incident resulted in an adverse effect, Waikato Regional Council may take enforcement action, irrespective of the process in a) and/or b), even if the incident was a ‘one-off’.

6.4.2.6 Modelling Guideline Values for Particulate Matter for Resource Consent Applications

The following is not a modelling standard and should not be used or quoted as one. Waikato Regional Council will use the following as a guide in assessing resource consent applications for activities that are at a scale or nature likely to discharge significant levels of particulate matter:

  1. The particulate deposition rate beyond the boundary of the subject property should not exceed four grams per square metre per 30 days.
  2. The particulate deposition rate beyond the boundary of the subject property should not exceed 130 milligrams per square metre averaged over 24 hours.

6.4.2.7 Preferred Method for Testing Discharges of Particulate Matter at Source

The following is Waikato Regional Council’s preferred method for testing discharges of particulate matter at source:

  1. Testing should be undertaken using isokinetic10 methods such as USEPA method 5 or equivalent. This method will also provide guidance on location of sampling points.

 

Explanation and Principal Reasons for Adopting Sections 6.4.2.1 to 6.4.2.7
Section 6.4.2.1 provides a guideline for the course of action that Waikato Regional Council can take when assessing a resource consent application for an existing activity (this includes a consent renewal or review of an existing activity that has not previously held a consent). The list provided is not hierarchical. Not all of the approaches outlined will necessarily be relevant in an assessment.

Section 6.4.2.1 part a) indicates that Waikato Regional Council will consider the history of complaints received by the regional community regarding the discharge. Complaints can be used as an indicator of past performance from the site. Complaints received after notification of this Plan can be validated by undertaking the processes in Section 6.4.2.3.

Section 6.4.2.1 parts b) and h) rely on information held by Waikato Regional Council and past experiences of council officers regarding any adverse effects resulting from the discharge. In situations where new activities are proposed, Council will draw on experience and knowledge gained from existing sites of a similar nature or scale.

The provisions in parts c) and d) accommodate consideration of community feedback and experience with the discharge. Community feedback need not be restricted to complaints, there are many techniques available to dischargers to gauge whether or not the community considers the discharge of particulate matter to be objectionable to the extent that it is having an adverse effect.

Section 6.4.2.1 part e) provides for deposition modelling for quantifying and assessing effects from particulate matter. Models can predict how changes in processes and controls will affect air quality and can improve understanding of complex air quality issues. It is important to use them properly with regard to their limits, and with consideration of the uncertainty of their outputs.

Section 6.4.2.1 part f) provides for an assessment based on a best practicable option approach. Policy 4 in Chapter 6.1 outlines where Waikato Regional Council considers best practicable option is preferable over an air quality management approach. Section 6.4.2.1 part g) assesses whether the principles of continuous improvement have been or could be adopted by the discharger.

The steps listed in Section 6.4.2.2 provide a checklist for Waikato Regional Council to follow when addressing complaints regarding particulate matter for permitted activities. It should be noted that this checklist is not hierarchical. Not all of the approaches outlined may be relevant in the assessment of effects for a given activity. The differences between this procedure and the procedure given in Section 6.4.2.3 are to allow Council to respond faster to particulate matter complaints from permitted activities. This method is intended to avoid a long drawn out process in rectifying issues with permitted activities that do not comply with the standard conditions for permitted activities set out in Section 6.1.8 of this Plan.

Section 6.4.2.2 part a) provides the criteria for assessment that should be used by a Council Officer. Consideration of each separate factor in part a) i) to iv) is important when making an assessment as to whether or not the discharge is objectionable to the extent that it is having an adverse effect. Due to the more rapid response required, by necessity the duration of assessment will be curtailed. More frequent officer inspections may replace the use of extensive particulate matter diary systems. There will often be times where it will be appropriate for an officer with delegated authority to assess the particulate matter event, particularly if the event occurs a large distance from Waikato Regional Council offices. In cases such as this territorial authority officers can play an important role.

Section 6.4.2.2 part b) provides for the assessment of particulate matter events by other council officers. This will be particularly appropriate if the discharger or complaint(s) dispute the first assessment undertaken as part of a) or if the problem is ongoing. If this is the case and the dissatisfied party or parties are prepared to share costs with Waikato Regional Council, then Council, if it deems necessary will undertake a further assessment by an independent expert.

If it is agreed by the discharger and Council that a discharge of particulate matter that is objectionable to the extent that it has caused or is causing an adverse effect has occurred through the assessments made in parts a) and b), then Section 6.4.2.2 part c) provides for a problem solving approach in the first instance. Waikato Regional Council will encourage the discharger to identify and implement solutions to the problem; the responsibility rests with the discharger to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse effect.

Section 6.4.2.2 parts d) and e) outline the options available to Waikato Regional Council if, through the process from a) to c), no agreement has been reached. Waikato Regional Council may request the discharger undertakes measures to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse effects of the discharge and/or undertake enforcement procedures against the discharger. A resource consent for the activity may be required.

 

The steps listed in Section 6.4.2.3 provide a checklist for Waikato Regional Council to follow when addressing complaints regarding particulate matter for activities that hold a resource consent. It should be noted that this checklist is not hierarchical. Not all of the approaches outlined will necessarily be relevant in the assessment of effects.

Section 6.4.2.3 part a) provides the criteria for assessment that should be used by a council officer. Consideration of each separate factor in a) i) to vi) is important when making an assessment as to whether or not the discharge is objectionable to the extent that it is having an adverse effect. Issues such as frequency will need to be assessed in most cases, on the basis of the type of activity involved, the level of community response and knowledge of the local meteorology. There will often be times where it will be appropriate for an officer with delegated authority to assess an event, particularly if the event occurs a fair distance from Waikato Regional Council offices. In cases such as this territorial authority officers can play an important role.

Section 6.4.2.3 part b) provides for the assessment of events by other council officers or by independent experts. This will be particularly appropriate if the discharger or complainants(s) dispute the first assessment undertaken as part of part a) or if the problem is ongoing.

If it is agreed by the discharger and this Council that a discharge of particulate matter that is objectionable to the extent that it has caused or is causing an adverse effect has occurred through the assessments made in parts a) and b) then Section 6.4.2.3 part c) provides for a problem solving approach in the first instance. Waikato Regional Council will encourage the discharger to identify and implement solutions to the problem, the responsibility rests with the discharger to avoid, remedy or mitigate the adverse effect.

Section 6.4.2.3 parts d) and e) outlines the actions that may be requested of the discharger or the community. This may involve Waikato Regional Council requesting the discharger to keep a complaints register and/or requesting people living and working in the area to keep a diary noting the details of any particulate matter and the effect it is having on them.

Under Section 6.4.2.3 part f) Waikato Regional Council could carry out or commission public surveys or undertake field investigations to determine the extent and impact of the discharge. There are many techniques for surveying and investigation in the field. The technique chosen needs to be carefully developed and the right questions asked in order to produce credible information.

Section 6.4.2.3 part g) provides another course of action if resolution under parts a) to f) cannot be reached. Deposited particulate monitoring in New Zealand is usually carried out in accordance with the Draft ISO Standard 4222.2 ‘Measurement of Atmospheric Dustfall – Horizontal Deposit Gauge Method’. An alternative to this method is the Australian Standard AS 3580.10.1-1991 ‘Determination of Particulates – Deposited Matter – Gravimetric Method’. Total suspended particulate monitoring in New Zealand is usually carried out in accordance with DSIR Necal Method 101. Dischargers should check with Waikato Regional Council for confirmation that these methods are suitable for use.

The provisions in Section 6.4.2.4 parts a), b) and c) recognise that some dischargers have a well-established relationship with the local community, and have open channels of communication. The community-triggered response can work well where there is an established relationship between the discharger and community. This is a valid management approach to address adverse effects from discharges of particulate matter and already occurs within the Region. This approach reduces the need for Waikato Regional Council involvement where there are complaints, although it does not rule out any involvement from this Council if the problem cannot be solved between the parties.

Notwithstanding Council’s ability to take enforcement action at an early stage in certain circumstances the provisions in Sections 6.4.2.2, 6.4.2.3 and 6.4.2.4 indicate Waikato Regional Council’s commitment to a problem solving approach with the community and also indicates this Council’s desire to see dischargers to address their adverse effects in a proactive manner. Where problems still occur, Waikato Regional Council will need to consider enforcement action.

Guidance is provided as to when to take enforcement action in Section 6.4.2.5 parts a),  b) and c). Decisions on enforcement will need to be made on a case-by-case basis, but account will be taken of:

  1. the success of measures undertaken under Sections 6.4.2.2, 6.4.2.3 and 6.4.2.4
  2. the commitment of the discharger to rectifying the problem
  3. the commitment of the discharger entering into consultation with the affected community
  4. the extent of the adverse effect and the degree to which it was predictable and preventable.

The amount of time given to the discharger to investigate and implement control options before enforcement proceedings are initiated would be dependent on the complexity of the problem, the costs involved, the level of community concern and the degree of adverse effect.

Section 6.4.2.6 parts a) and b) provide a modelling guideline that will be used, where appropriate, by Waikato Regional Council when assessing whether discharges are likely to have an adverse effect. This guideline has been provided in the Plan in recognition of the need for criteria on which to make decisions in a consistent manner, which in turn provides certainty to resource users in the Region. Waikato Regional Council wishes to provide certainty and consistency in approach when assessing resource consent applications regarding particulate matter by providing this guideline in the Plan. It should be noted that this guideline is not a modelling standard and should not be used or quoted as one. Part of the reasoning for this is what is acceptable will vary depending on the receiving environment and the background levels of deposited particulate matter already present.

The use of 4 g/m2 averaged over 30 days and 130 mg/m2 averaged over 24 hours are not an appropriate means of determining whether a particular activity is resulting in adverse effects. The methods cannot readily distinguish between contributions from various sources or reflect peak emission episodes. Instead, these numbers can be best used as a guide for resource consent assessment purposes. It is not intended that they be used for assessing whether an activity is causing an adverse effect or as a basis for considering enforcement action.

Section 6.4.2.7 outlines Waikato Regional Council’s preferred method for testing discharges of particulate matter. Applicants should use this method when preparing resource consent applications to discharge particulate matter to air. This method will be used for testing resource consent compliance by Waikato Regional Council, where appropriate.

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