We released our 2020 first quarter air quality monitoring results today. The Government of Alberta calculates the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) using data collected at seven of FAP’s air monitoring stations. Results show AQHI in the Airshed registered low risk readings at least 80% of the time, with Lamont County having the highest percentage of low risk readings and Gibbons the lowest. Risk to health increases as the index rises.
None of the stations recorded hours in the very high risk range while only 11 hours were recorded at the high risk level. Almost all of the high risk occurrences were due to wintertime inversions, a weather condition where cold air along with pollutants is trapped near the ground by a layer of warmer air above.
As a comparison, results from the first quarter of 2019 are provided on the next page. There were 55 fewer hours of high risk level in 2020 when compared to the first quarter in 2019. This is mainly due to the reduction in the number of days the region experienced winter inversions during Q1 of 2020.
Our Scotford air monitoring station was relocated on February 26 to a permanent location on land leased from the Hutterian Brethren Church of Scotford.
The new site is located approximately two kilometres south of Highway 15 on the west side of Range Road 212, approximately 350 metres from where the station has been located for the past six years. This relatively minor move is required to secure a permanent home for the station, which will be known as Scotford South.
“We are very thankful to the Hutterian Brethren Church of Scotford for enabling us to place our station permanently on their land. The new site provides everything we need to continue effective air monitoring in the area,” said Nadine Blaney, FAP’s Executive Director.
The new site will allow us to maintain our understanding of ambient air quality in the area while still monitoring the impact of emissions from nearby industrial facilities on local air quality, she added. The station will continue to meet the same monitoring objectives as the previous site. Alberta Environment and Parks and the Alberta Energy Regulator have no objections to this relocation.