A new Fort Air Partnership (FAP) continuous air monitoring station in the Town of Redwater is now operational.
Located in the heart of Redwater at 4704-49 Avenue, just south of the Town’s administration building, the station is now collecting and reporting data on six substances plus several weather conditions. It will also provide a daily and forecast Air Quality Health Index rating. All this information is available to the public on FAP’s website.
“Having an air monitoring station in Redwater is important because it enables us to better understand the quality of the air locally and on a regional basis, especially where people live,” said Nadine Blaney, FAP’s Executive Director. She noted FAP worked closely with town officials and contractors to ensure the smooth set-up and operation of the station.
The station is collecting ambient air data on sulphur dioxide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, ammonia, particulate matter and weather information. Data is available to the public in near real time via FAP’s on-line live data feed.
The Redwater station is one of nine continuous air monitoring stations in Fort Air Partnership’s air monitoring network. With the start-up of the Town of Redwater station, an air monitoring station adjacent to Agrium’s Redwater fertilizer plant is no longer part of FAP’s network.
Fort Air Partnership monitors the air local residents breathe in and around Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. The collection and reporting on substances that affect air quality is transparent, guided by an expert scientific advisory group, and driven by national and provincial standards.
A recent provincial audit of Fort Air Partnership’s (FAP) air monitoring network resulted in high marks for performance. During August, 48 of 52 analyzers were audited with only three not meeting the audit requirements. One of these was directly related to a power outage the morning of the audit, leading to a calibration issue. The other two were also due to analyzers not meeting calibration targets. All of the issues were resolved within hours. The other four analyzers will be audited at a future date.
“These are extremely good results that reinforce to ourselves and the public that we are continuously providing credible, high quality, local ambient air monitoring data,” said Nadine Blaney, FAP’s Executive Director. Continuous gas analyzers exist in all nine of FAP’s continuous air monitoring stations. This specialized equipment reports on concentrations of specific pollutants in the air.
The audit was conducted by Alberta Environment and Parks. In addition to the analyzer tests, the independent auditor found several minor areas for improvement. These were related to cleaning and preventative maintenance issues, and measurement comparisons to auditor-certified equipment. In addition to the audit of critical measurements, auditors also assessed another 65 of 66 non-critical items such as relative humidity readings and trailer internal temperature. Only two items were recommended for improvement.
Blaney noted these items were dealt with soon after the audit results were received. “It’s our policy to address any issues as quickly as we can so that the data we produce retains its accuracy, credibility and value to the public, industry, government and researchers.”
Auditing is an important part of FAP’s comprehensive quality assurance program. In addition to these annual audits of the monitoring network, FAP conducts regular internal performance reviews and independent Quality Assurance Plan audits. FAP also performs other quality assurance activities such as challenging continuous gas analyzers with known gas concentrations daily and calibrating them monthly. FAP’s Technical Working Group and air monitoring data analyst also review data quality indicators every month. Read the audit summary report.