Heartland 101 November 2017: Air Monitoring in the Heartland Expanded

photo_heartland_101_201711Fort Air Partnership’s recent addition of a permanent continuous air monitoring station in the Town of Redwater in October and a portable continuous air monitoring station slated to be operational by 2018 is enhancing regional air monitoring in and around Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.

The two new stations will collect and report on levels of ammonia, particulate matter and several other substances in the air, as well as a number of weather conditions. The portable station will move around Fort Air Partnership’s Airshed region, staying several months in one place, to both monitor air quality in areas previously underserved in the region, as well as respond to emerging issues. It will enable triangulation to identify sources and source locations, as well as identify upwind concentrations coming into the Airshed.

Once the portable station is operational, Fort Air Partnership will manage a total of 10 continuous air monitoring stations and 57 passive monitors in the Airshed.

Continuous monitors measure substances minute by minute, 24 hours a day, all year long and report results in near real time. What each station measures depends on the individual station’s monitoring objectives. Data from stations located in Redwater, Bruderheim, Fort Saskatchewan, Gibbons, Lamont County, Elk Island National Park and the soon-to-be added portable station is used to calculate a local Air Quality Health Index. As a result, these stations measure substances required by the provincial and federal governments to calculate this air quality rating. Other continuous monitoring stations in the region (Scotford Temporary, Ross Creek and Range Road 220) monitor substances required by industrial operating approval requirements. See Fort Air Partnership’s Substances Monitored by Station chart for a complete list.

Passive monitors are located throughout the Airshed and measure concentrations of sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide.  Samples are collected monthly and sent to a laboratory for analysis to determine the distribution of these substances throughout the region, and to measure trends over time.

Stay informed

Current and forecast local AQHI levels are available at fortair.org  The public can also view near real time hourly readings from all of Fort Air Partnership’s continuous monitoring stations.

For more information about transportation planning and projects in the region, or Life in the Heartland, visit lifeintheheartland.com, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, or email info@lifeintheheartland.com.