The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is investigating recent spikes in sulphur dioxide gas levels recorded by air monitoring equipment located behind the Hewletts Rd industrial area in Mount Maunganui.

Pollution prevention manager Nick Zaman said the monitoring equipment had recorded unacceptably high sulphur dioxide levels on two occasions in recent weeks. "We know there are a number of sulphur dioxide sources in the area, which include industrial plants manufacturing fertilisers and processing chemicals as well as shipping and train activities."

Mr Zaman said the council had asked for monitoring information from local industries and would treat any breaches of resource consents conditions "very seriously".

The maximum upper limit set by National Environmental Standards for sulphur dioxide which must not be exceeded is 570 micrograms per cubic metre of air over a one hour average.

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The two verified breaches were above the upper limits, spiking at 628 and 751 micrograms of sulphur dioxide per cubic metre over a one hour average on February 27 and March 5 respectively. The Pollution Prevention Hotline had received 19 complaints relating to this area in the past 12 months.