Keeping Track Of Toxins

NPI LogoMany activities undertaken by people in our daily lives, such as at work, home, school and play, can adversely affect the environment, and they may contribute emissions to our air, land and water. There has been increasing community demand to know about toxic substances emitted to the local environment.

Australian, state and territory governments have agreed to cooperate to protect or manage particular aspects of the environment.

An important outcome of this is the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI), maintained by the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA). The NPI program collects, reviews, analyses and publishes emissions data from industrial facilities as well as aggregated diffuse sources. The NPI shows emission estimates for 93 toxic substances and the source and location of these emissions. Australian industries are required to monitor, measure and report their emissions under this program.

The NPI program seeks to:

  • maintain and improve air and water quality
  • minimise environmental impacts associated with hazardous waste, and
  • improve the sustainable use of resources.


SRA Information Technology was engaged to design and implement the ‘National Pollutant Inventory Public Database'.

Meeting the Challenge >>

A number of studies and reviews were undertaken in 2005 and 2006 in order to identify shortcomings of the previous NPI Public Website. Numerous findings and recommendations led DEWHA to identify the need for a new system to replace their current public website.

In order to meet these requirements SRA designed and implemented the ‘National Pollutant Inventory Public Database', an application that would be capable of providing a simple interface for non-technical public users whilst providing a mechanism for the technical community to be able to access and request raw data for various purposes.

The solution provided by SRA is a web-based application, which allows access to public users to search for NPI data. SRA used an Agile development approach for this project which involved iterative development, continuous integrations and very close client involvement.

SRA staff also provided project management, user interface design, documentation and testing services (including load testing) to successfully complete the project.

Following the completion of the project, the client highlighted the quality of SRA’s work in comparison to the previous system. The project was showcased to other business units within the department. 

Outstanding Features >>

The new NPI website allows data to be researched by browsing, graphically (via an interactive map), or using a search form.  It also provides: 

  • screens for public users to view details about emissions from various industrial facility sources, and diffuse sources.
  • functionality allowing users to view and interrogate the system using mapping facilities for all NPI data within a region and to display the results from the current search on a map.
  • functionality to allow users to download the data from the current search results in XML format
  • functionality to display the data from the current search results in charts
  • a user friendly GIS tool using the Google Maps API

Comprehensive Benefits >>

The National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) is tracking pollution across Australia, and ensuring that the community has access to information about the emission and transfer of toxic substances which may affect them locally.

According to the DEWHA website. “tracking pollution through the NPI is essential to enhance environmental quality; increase public and industry understanding of the types and quantities of toxic substances emitted into the environment and transferred off-site as waste; encourage industry to use cleaner production techniques to reduce emissions and waste generation; track environmental progress; meet community right-to-know obligations; and assist government in identifying priorities for environmental decision-making”.

Leading Edge Technology >>

The system was implemented under the Java EE platform, using the frameworks SRA-COMMONS, Spring, Hibernate and Struts, working alongside the Oracle RDBMS.

Other  technical highlights were:

  • Management of high volumes of data (millions of records) using Hibernate and native SQL queries that are mapped to objects
  • Extensive use of unobtrusive and accessible Ajax techniques
  • Extensive use of unit testing tools
  • Extensive use of caching
  • Implementation of a friendly urls website using the urlrewritefilter

Further Information >>

See the pollutant data at


Case Studies

Find out how companies have utilised SRA's expertise to provide innovative solutions.

>> Case Studies By Industries

>> Case Studies by Solutions

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