Malfunction causes poor air quality reading: EPA

An overnight malfunction caused an air quality monitoring station to deliver incorrect readings in Morwell’s south.

Some Morwell residents received a reading of ‘very poor’ visibility with an Air Quality Index of more than 1000 – much different to the ‘very good’ readings from stations in Morwell’s east and Traralgon.

Environment Protection Authority scientists, who use the equipment to measure visibility reduction and air quality index, provide hourly updates online.

EPA scientists and technicians are now working to resolve the station’s malfunction after receiving concerned reports from the community.

EPA Victoria chief executive Nial Finegan thanked local residents for their feedback.

“Instrumentation sometimes goes down, as occurred overnight,” Mr Finegan said.

“Our scientists picked it up through a network scan this morning, and we have moved quickly to fix the instruments.

“We also received community reports and we are thankful for that extra degree of oversight and feedback.

“I apologise for the anxiety our instrument malfunction may have caused the Morwell community.”

EPA moved to inform the community once scientists ruled out planned burns and this morning’s spot fire at Yallourn’s open cut mine as the high reading’s cause.

“EPA is committed to supplying air quality data to residents in a consistent and accurate form,” Mr Finegan said.

Mr Finegan said an internal review was being conducted to ensure the authority learns from the event and improves its future processes.