Project summaries - 2005 Environmental Research grants

2005 Environmental Research grants
OrganisationCategoryProject titleAmount $

CSIRO Energy Technology

Atmospheric

Chemical and physical characterisation of fine particles in Sydney

99,953

CSIRO Land and Water

Hazardous substances and waste

Developing soil criteria for beneficial reuse of waste materials

192,332

Department of Environment and Conservation

Hazardous substances and waste

Amphipod embryogenesis as a rapid bioindicator of sediment quality

199,000

Macquarie University

Atmospheric

Sources of the organic fraction of atmospheric fine particles

94,597

University of New England

Hazardous substances and wasteBioavailability and risk from antimony and arsenic contamination

100,000

University of New EnglandSocial and economicDetermining landowners' willingness to participate in offset markets

79,360

University of Sydney

AtmosphericSymptoms, allergy and personal exposure to plane tree bioaerosols

99,989

University of Technology SydneyHazardous substances and wasteAssessment and management of groundwater fauna at contaminated sites

148,522

8 projects 

TOTAL

$1,013,753

CSIRO Energy Technology
Chemical and physical characterisation of fine particles in Sydney
Grant: $99,953

Epidemiologists have linked ambient fine particles to a wide variety of adverse health effects in people of all ages. Fine particles are complex, with their size distribution, composition and morphology varying significantly in space and time. They can be emitted directly as primary particles or formed in the atmosphere from gaseous precursors as secondary aerosols. In NSW, regulators and policy makers are currently considering steps for additional control of fine particle emissions. There are, however, major gaps in the information required to address this issue, in particular, in relation to the NEPM PM2.5 advisory reporting standard. The project will provide valuable data on the chemical composition and origin of PM2.5 in the Sydney region. This will be achieved by measuring, at three sites across Sydney, the physical, chemical, spatial and temporal characteristics of PM, with an emphasis on PM2.5 in order to identify the major sources. These data will provide the basis for the development of sound management strategies and will set the scene for further consideration of PM2.5 emissions.

CSIRO Land and Water
Developing soil criteria for beneficial reuse of waste materials
Grant: $192,332

This project aims to develop a robust framework for the development of soil ecological investigation levels (EILs) to allow the beneficial reuse of waste materials on land. The project aims to develop a tiered risk assessment framework for contaminants, analogous to the framework used in the National Water Quality Guidelines. The framework will be developed for two inorganic contaminants (arsenic, zinc) and two organic contaminants (DDT and naphthalene) as test cases, and further developed with regulators and industry through a workshop process. Application of the framework to assess land re-use of a representative waste will be undertaken.

Department of Environment and Conservation
Amphipod embryogenesis as a rapid bioindicator of sediment quality
Grant: $199,000

This project will develop both a laboratory and in situ sub-chronic sediment toxity test based on the fecundity of a sensitive sediment dwelling amphipod. This will enable the impacts of sediment contaminants to be assessed more rapidly both in the laboratory and in the field with minimal sediment disturbance. Data on the sensitivity of this test to common contaminants including lead, zinc, copper and PAHs will be used to derive more defensible Australian sediment quality guidelines.

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Macquarie University
Sources of the organic fraction of atmospheric fine particles
Grant: $94,597

In this project a sampling program will be undertaken to collect fine particle samples in urban and regional locations. The organic fraction will be characterised by state of the art analytical techniques, and source fingerprinting and reconciliation techniques will be used to estimate the contribution of various sources of emission to fine particles. The project will therefore substantially increase our knowledge of the composition of the organic fraction of fine particles, of the importance of the sources and of the seasonal variability of atmospheric particles. Such information is crucial for investigating the association between particle composition and health effects.

University of New England
Bioavailability and risk from antimony and arsenic contamination
Grant: $100,000

Historic mining practices in the upper Macleay River catchment have created a 300km dispersion trail of soil and sediment contaminated with antimony (Sb) and to a lesser extent arsenic (As). In response to the worldwide paucity of information about the biogeochemistry of contaminant Sb, and concerns from catchment stakeholders about elevated Sb and as environmental concentrations, this project will investigate bioavailability as well as environmental and health risks resulting from contamination. In addition to providing immediate benefits to catchment residents and users, the research will contribute to development of environmental and health investigation trigger values for Sb. The Macleay River catchment has the largest area of Sb contamination in Australia, and an understanding of how Sb behaves in this system will be applicable to the contaminated areas in NSW, and indeed worldwide. Specifically, the project will investigate the chemical and mineralogical transformations of Sb and As through the catchment, their bioavailability to plants, herbivores and aquatic organisms, and fluctuations of their dissolved concentrations in river water.

University of New England
Determining landowners' willingness to participate in offset markets
Grant: $79,360

This project will provide the first study into understanding and measuring grazier's perceptions of the value of environmental offsets (the supply of offset products), the role of offsets in the farm system and, the role that graziers may play in the offset market. This information will be vital in identifying potential sellers off offsets. Information will be gathered on the effects of changing land use (stock exclusion and partial exclusion) on offset products and graziers' attitudes and perceptions of the supply and value of these new products. The project will survey (a minimum of) 50 graziers in the Walgett and Moree Plains Shires and report result through a stakeholder workshop, websites, journals and reports.

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University of Sydney
Symptoms, allergy and personal exposure to plane tree bioaerosols
Grant: $99,989

We will quantitatively determine the contribution of Plane Trees to the respiratory symptoms of inner-Sydney residents. To do this, we will recruit groups of affected residents and measure their allergies and daily symptoms during the spring and summer. We will continuously sample the air at two city locations over this period and monitor personal exposure during acute exacerbations. The pattern of exposure to different pollens will be determined and exactly which pollens and plant fragments people are both allergic to and exposed to, will be identified using our novel Halogen assay. The outputs will be available to refine policy.

University of Technology Sydney
Assessment and management of groundwater fauna at contaminated sites
Grant: $148,522

The unique microbes and invertebrates in aquifers purify the groundwater, and contribute significantly to biodiversity in NSW. Despite their importance, groundwater ecosystems and their fauna are rarely considered in the assessment and management of contaminated sites. Indeed, there are no guidelines for sampling and assessing groundwater ecosystems, and existing water quality guidelines are inadequate to ensure their protection from contamination. This project will provide industry and regulators with guidelines for sampling and assessing groundwater ecosystems, and a framework with which groundwater quality specific guidelines will be developed. These products will ensure comprehensive and sustainable management of groundwater and contaminated sites in NSW.

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Page last updated: 27 February 2011