Real Time Air Quality Monitoring in Wexford

Date released: Apr 27 2005

Real time air quality data for Wexford is now available on the Environmental Protection Agency website.  The EPA began assessing air quality in Wexford town on 10th March 2005, using an EPA mobile laboratory at Wexford County Council buildings.  This work is part of a comprehensive assessment of air quality in all major cities and towns in Ireland.

The assessment will take place over a period of approximately six months and concentrations of the following substances will be measured.  These substances are potentially damaging to human health if present in high enough concentrations:

  • Oxides of nitrogen
  • Sulphur Dioxide
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Benzene
  • Lead
  • PM10 and PM2.5– very small dust particles

The European Union’s recent directive on air quality has established the concept that each country should be divided into zones for the purpose of assessing and managing air quality. Ireland is divided into four zones; Dublin (A), Cork (B), selected population centres >15,000 population (C) and non-urban areas (D). Wexford is in Zone C of the country along with other cities and towns with a population greater than 15,000.

The EPA is using mobile air quality laboratories such as the unit located in Wexford to carry out assessments of air quality in all Zone C cities and towns.  During each assessment, concentrations in air of the substances listed above are measured and compared to limit values set out in the European Union’s recent framework directive. A report is produced after each assessment.

Results collected thus far indicate that air quality in Wexford town is not dissimilar to the air quality in other Zone C towns and cities. Levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and benzene are well below limit values set for these pollutants. The PM10 limit value has been exceeded on two occasions to date. Such occurrences, however, are not unusual, the EU directive allows the limit value to be exceeded 35 times in a calendar year. Monitoring will continue in Wexford for 6-8 months, at which stage an accurate assessment of air quality can be made.

Real time air quality in Wexford can be viewed during the assessment on the EPA website www.epa.ie/monitoring/air.