Fort Air Partnership has 10 continuous air monitor stations but these are located in larger communities within the Airshed. To provide additional monitoring coverage in other populated areas in the region, we have installed small sensors called PurpleAir to monitor for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the communities of Waskatenau, Bon Accord and Josephburg. We are planning to install three more in other Airshed locations. The left image shows a monitor mounted at the Moyer Recreation Centre in Josephburg. The right image shows a closeup of a sensor.
The PurpleAir sensors, donated to us by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), are small (3.5” in diameter), inexpensive, easy to install and operate requiring only a power source and Wi-Fi connection. In comparison, while a continuous air monitoring station is more accurate in determining fine particulate matter concentrations, they are significantly more expensive to build and operate. Although less accurate, PurpleAir sensors can provide a valuable assessment of levels of fine particulate matter in areas that do not have continuous stations.
PurpleAir sensor data is continuously collected, validated and available in real time on an AQMap operated by the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) in partnership with ECCC. The AQMap shows PM2.5 concentrations from PurpleAir sensors and associated health messaging. Please note that data from PurpleAir sensors does not meet Government of Alberta regulatory standards and will not be used to make regulatory decisions, or to issue air quality advisories.