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Project Description
Swiss-Hungarian Cooperation Program

Project titled „Upgrade of the National Air Pollution Monitoring Network (OLM) and its support laboratories”

Legal and organisational background

Based on Government Decree 306/2010 (XII. 23.), installing and operating air quality monitoring networks, assessing air quality and operating public information systems are state responsibilities.

The National Air Pollution Monitoring Network (OLM) is operated by territorial bodies, i.e. the Government Offices’ Environment and Conservation Departments in their respective areas of jurisdiction, subject to the Ministry of Agriculture’s functional management.

To ensure nationwide standard air pollution testing that meets the requirements in the relevant legal regulations, the Environment Preservation Department at the Ministry of Agriculture provides professional oversight for OLM. As part of this function, they manage network upgrades that ensure maintaining the quality level of measurements, compliance with relevant quality requirements, and which are also required to implement the expansion of the monitoring programme in connection with regulatory developments. The transposition of European Union Directive 2008/50/EC into Hungarian legislation and compliance with new requirements necessitates extending the scope of air pollutant components to be measured—primarily regarding ozone precursors and floating dust particles (PM2.5)—and broadening mobile testing options. This requires extending the monitoring network’s instrument pool, which will be provided for, in part, by this project. At the same time, we also wish to solve the replacement of some obsolete equipment in the current instrument pool as part of the project.

History of OLM

The assessment of ambient air quality requires creating a measurement-based database. Systematic air quality testing began in 1974. Incremental on site sampling was used at monitoring points, with analysis completed according to Hungarian standards in county laboratories. This date is considered the birth of the National Manual Monitoring Network. Tests extended to monitoring SO2, NO2 and particulate matter (TSP and settling dust). In the 1980’s, these tests were complemented by adding particulate heavy metal analysis—with particular attention to fuel gasoline lead content—and testing for PAH compounds. Measuring aromatic hydrocarbons in the vicinity of filling stations and crude oil refineries also became necessary. The first automatic monitoring stations were set up in Budapest in 1984, and measured SO2, NOX, CO and TSP as air polluting components. A state of the art Online Automatic Monitoring Network was installed in Budapest and major cities in Hungary’s countryside in 1990–92, thus O3 and PM10 metering also began in addition to SO2, NOX, CO and TSP. The number of metering points was insufficient to cover an entire settlement, much less the whole country, so the National Manual Monitoring Network continued to operate; and it still does to this day at a reduced number of metering points after several revisions and streamlining, to test the air quality of city districts, settlements and micro-regions not covered by an online monitoring station.

The development of OLM’s automatic online monitoring network is envisaged as part of an Environment and Energy Operational Programme (EEOP) tender.

By obtaining a Swiss Fund grant award, we plan to improve the OLM Manual Monitoring Network (OLM MM) and the laboratory background.

Purpose of project no. SH/3/9

The purpose of the project is to monitor air quality in towns and micro-regions that are not tested with automatic online monitoring stations, furthermore, to establish the conditions for on-site manual sampling based analysis in regional laboratories to conduct the manual sampling based testing of toxic metal and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds.

The direct goal of the project is to upgrade the monitoring network which guarantees the substantiation of air purity protection measures; specifically, the quantitative and qualitative improvement of the National Air Pollution Monitoring Network and the development of the laboratory background in the interest of compliance with statutory requirements.

Ensuring compliance with Directives 2004/107/EC 4. and 2008/50/EC are specifically set goals. Once measurement data are known, action plans will need to be developed and implemented for the sake of achieving the limit values and targets specified in the Directives, and reducing concentration levels at polluted areas.

Project implementation

Project implementation will involve the procurement of state-of-the-art sampling and laboratory measuring instruments, as well as mobile monitoring stations required for the onsite measurement programmes to be realised in various locations. The new measuring instruments will serve the purpose of replacing worn-out and obsolete equipment.

The regional laboratories are operated by the following Government offices:
  • Baranya County Government Office
  • Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County Government Office
  • Csongrád County Government Office
  • Fejér County Government Office
  • Győr-Sopron-Moson County Government Office
  • Hajdú-Bihar County Government Office
  • Pest County Government Office
Main project data:

Financial indicators:
  • total cost: HUF 1,780,151 ,514
    • subsidy intensity: 85%, to be financed by the government of Switzerland (contribution)
    • own funds: 15%, to be financed by the central budget of Hungary
  • subsidy type: non-repayable subsidy
Subsidised activities:
  • purchase of instruments
  • project start: March 1, 2011
  • project conclusion: June 30, 2016