A recent provincial audit of Fort Air Partnership’s (FAP) air monitoring network resulted in high marks for performance. During January and February, 73 of 75 analyzers were audited with only one failing. The failure was caused by a calibration issue, which was immediately resolved. The last two 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, the height of nearby trees or intakes, sensor configurations and calibrations, and on-site documentation.
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 requesting an independent audit, 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.