Kwinana is a major heavy industrial area 30 km south of Perth, Western Australia. Most industry is concentrated in a strip of land about eight kilometres long bordering the Indian Ocean.
In the late 1970s emissions of sulfur dioxide from Kwinana industries caused significant pollution in nearby residential areas. The almost universal conversion to natural gas in 1984 virtually eliminated sulfur dioxide emissions associated with fuel combustion. However, with growth in demand and the cost of natural gas, plus the increase in sulfur dioxide emissions from other sources, the Environmental Protection Authority recognised the potential for the air quality around Kwinana to again become degraded and therefore established an Environmental Protection Policy (EPP) in 1992 to maintain acceptable air quality.
The Kwinana EPP was formally reviewed in 1999 and re-issued unchanged. The 1992 Regulations are still in force along with a 1999 amendment regulations. The EPP provides for a redetermination of industrial emissions limits as and when required, e.g. to accommodate new industries or variations to existing industry emissions.
The Policy defines three areas (Areas A, B and C), where:
Area A is the area of land on which heavy industry is located;
Area B is a buffer area surrounding industry;
Area C is beyond Areas A and B, predominantly rural and residential.
Sulfur dioxide standards and limits were set for the three areas, increasing in stringency from Area A to Area C. The most important of these with respect to controlling air quality are the standards and limits averaged over 1-hour. Similarly, ambient standards and limits were established for total suspended particulates.