News and Articles

2017 Regional Air Quality Monitoring Results Released

Posted on February 6, 2018

Fort Air Partnership (FAP), the organization that monitors the air local residents breathe, released its 2017 regional air quality monitoring results today.

In 2017, FAP’s six stations that collect data used to calculate an hourly and forecast Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) in and around Alberta’s Industrial Heartland registered low risk readings the vast majority of the time. Lamont County had the highest annual percentage of low risk readings at 98% while Fort Saskatchewan had the lowest at 93%. Risk to health increases as the index level rises.

In total across the network, 43,014 hours of AQHI readings were recorded in 2017.  Of that total, 57 hours (or less than 0.2% of total hours monitored) were in the high or very high risk AQHI category) These were due to forest fire smoke or winter temperature inversions. During a winter inversion, cold air along with pollutants is trapped near the ground by a layer of warm air. This is a weather condition that impacts large parts of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region whenever it occurs.

During 2017, there were 146 occasions across FAP’s nine monitoring stations where air quality measurements exceeded Alberta’s Ambient Air Quality Objectives. Two-thirds (67%) of these exceedances involved high concentrations of Respirable Particulate Matter (PM2.5). The PM2.5 exceedances were caused mainly by forest fire smoke and winter temperature inversions.

Five year trends of both AQHI and exceedances show fluctuations. This can be attributed to variances in annual seasonal events like forest fires, weather patterns and FAP’s transition over the last five years to a regional monitoring network that more accurately monitors air quality where people live.

 

 

 

 

*The new Redwater station began operating in October, 2017 but did not start reporting the AQHI until November 1.

 

 

 

Fourth Quarter Air Quality Health Index Results Released

Posted on January 10, 2018

Fort Air Partnership (FAP), the organization that monitors the air local residents breathe, released fourth quarter Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) results today.  Results show air quality in and around Alberta’s Industrial Heartland was of low risk to health the majority of the time from October 1 to December 31, 2017.

With the addition of an air monitoring station in the town of Redwater in November, six of FAP’s air quality monitoring stations now collect data that is used by the Government of Alberta in calculating hourly AQHI values, plus an AQHI forecast for the region. Risk to health increases as the index level rises.

AQHI at FAP’s six stations registered low risk readings at least 93% of the time, with Lamont County having the highest percentage of low risk readings and Fort Saskatchewan the lowest. Of the 11,822 hours AQHI values were calculated, only one hour reached the high risk level. This occurred in Gibbons on December 22 and was caused by an unknown localized source, which given the season this may have been due to idling vehicles or fireplace smoke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The new Redwater station began reporting the AQHI on November 1, 2017.

Local residents can check the forecast and daily AQHI on-line. FAP’s website also has a live data feed of a variety of substances FAP measures, and weekly, quarterly and annual AQHI results.