The Government of Alberta’s shift to a cumulative effects management approach is leading to new initiatives that will proactively address air quality at regional and provincial levels. In 2012, the Capital Region Air Management Framework was finalized. This framework establishes triggers for action on substances of concern including nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, fine particulate matter and ozone for the entire Capital Region, which includes the FAP airshed.
Within the Framework are a number of action levels specific to each substance. Based on a recent analysis of particulate matter data in the Capital Region by Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (AESRD), measurements at two monitoring stations in Edmonton and FAP’s Lamont station triggered either a mandatory or management plan level response. As a result, a plan is being developed for particulate matter management for the entire Capital Region. It is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2014.
Provincial and national standards outlined in Alberta’s Ambient Air Quality Objectives and Canada wide standards already define the maximum acceptable concentrations allowed for a number of specific pollutants. The Capital Region Air Quality Management Framework has taken this a step further by defining additional triggers (set below existing standards) to signal the need for action before pollutants reach or exceed unacceptable levels.
Alberta airsheds like Fort Air Partnership currently collect the data needed to compare pollutant concentrations with these objectives and standards, and when they are exceeded Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development is notified.
An ambient air quality level will be assigned to each monitoring station in the Capital Region, including all eight FAP stations. As the ambient air quality level increases, the Framework sets out what actions will be taken to manage the concern. AESRD would identify and implement the appropriate action in collaboration with stakeholders like FAP, industry and other levels of government.