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Tracking emissions through NPI

Industries are required to report air emissions via the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI). The EPA coordinates the submission of reports for industries that emit air pollutants. This data assists the EPA with assessing risk and planning monitoring, management and regulatory actions for EPA-licensed facilities that emit air pollutants. NPI reporting does not cover the emission of greenhouse gases, which is reported through the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting and National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. In South Australia, the NPI program is administered by the EPA.

Substance information fact sheets are provided on the NPI website that describes substance exposure pathways, common uses and sources of emissions, physical and chemical properties on various substances and substance thresholds. Data on emissions to air can be found on the NPI website.

The following section provides information on the levels of air pollutants that have been emitted from South Australian industries over the past ten years and a list of the top five sources for each pollutant based on NPI data received for the 2021–22 report. It should be noted that industry emissions reported in the NPI do not necessarily reflect ambient concentrations and community exposure to these pollutants as they do not include pollutants emitted from all sources (eg transport) and do not reflect how pollutants are released and dispersed into the airshed.

NPI data for the following list of pollutants only reflects industry emissions. Monitoring data provides a more accurate indication of community exposure to air pollutants as it reflects surrounding air quality.

Particulate Matter

Particulate matter PM10 and PM2.5 and refers to any particles that are less than 10 or 2.5 micrometres diameter respectively. Particulate matter is commonly referred to as dust, but smoke is also a source of particulate matter.

PM10 emissions

PM10 emissions
Total PM10 emissions in tonnes from industry between 2013–14 and 2021–22 (NPI–EPA)
Top 5 PM10 emitters
Top 5 emitters of PM10 in industry (NPI–EPA)

PM2.5 emissions

Total PM2.5 Emissions
Total PM 2.5 emissions in tonnes from industry between 2013–14 and 2021–22 (NPI–EPA)

Top five PM2.5 Emitters
Top 5 emitters of PM2.5 in industry (NPI–EPA)

Carbon Monoxide

Burning fuels produce carbon monoxide (CO), which can reduce the amount of oxygen reaching the body’s tissues and organs. To protect human health and wellbeing, the NEPM limit for CO in the atmosphere is 9.0 ppm.

Carbon monoxide emissions from industry have increased between 2013–14 and 2021–22. Note: graphs do not include carbon monoxide emissions from vehicles and from wood burning. Data is sourced from NPI.

Total CO Emissions
Total CO emissions in tonnes from industry between 2013–14 and 2021–22 (NPI–EPA)
Top five CO emitters
Top 5 emitters of CO in industry (NPI–EPA)

Total Volatile Organic Compounds

Total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) refer to a grouping of a wide range of chemical compounds that are produced from a wide range of sources including industry, diffuse sources such as petrol stations, biological processes, consumer products and transport (fuel storage tanks and exhaust emissions).

Total TVOC emssions
TVOC emissions in tonnes from industry between 2013–14 and 2021–22 (NPI–EPA)
Top five emittors
Top 5 emitters of TVOC in industry (NPI–EPA)

Nitrogen Oxide

Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are a mixture of gases that are composed of nitrogen and oxygen. The majority of sources are from electricity supply, mining, oil and gas extraction, manufacturing industries and petroleum manufacturing. Fuel burning activities and transport also produce NOx.

Total NOx emissions
Total NOx emissions in tonnes from industry between 2013–14 and 2021–22 (NPI–EPA)
Top five NOx emitters
Top 5 emitters of NOx in industry (NPI–EPA)


Lead is a naturally occurring heavy metal mined and used in manufacturing. Lead from emissions to air deposits onto soils and waterways and is taken up by vegetation. Lead can enter the body via ingestion and inhalation and is toxic to health, damaging the brain, nervous system and kidneys. The NEPM standard for lead is 0.5 micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3), measured as an annual average, and allows no exceedences of this limit.

Total lead emissions
Total lead emissions in tonnes from industry between 2013–22 (NPI–EPA)
Top five lead emitters
Top 5 emitters of Lead in industry (NPI–EPA)

Sulfur Dioxide

Sulfur dioxide (SO2) is mainly produced from fossil fuel combustion sites, metal refining and metal smelting operations, and other industrial processes. Vehicle exhausts also produce SO2.

The majority of SO2 emitted in South Australia is from the Port Pirie smelter. The drop in these emissions represents the outcome of the new technology implemented at the smelter as part of the Port Pirie Transformation Project. This resulted in a significant reduction in SO2 emissions from the Port Pirie smelter.

Total SO2 emissions
Total SO2 emissions in tonnes from industry between 2013–22 (NPI–EPA)
Top five SO2 emitters
Top 5 emitters of SO2 in industry (NPI–EPA)