Air Monitoring Reports
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has been monitoring air quality in the Sarnia area for many years to determine levels of air contaminants.
In September 2008, the MOECC established an air monitoring station in partnership with the Aamjiwnaang First Nation and the federal government to enhance air sampling capabilities in the vicinity and to support local long-term air quality studies and community health assessments.
The air monitoring station contains instruments that will help us to understand air quality in the local airshed. The information collected from the station will be used to help us improve your local air quality and support health assessments in the community.
Annual air monitoring reports and the raw data from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation air monitoring station:
The MOECC will make a presentation to the Health and Environment Committee on April 19, 2016.
The MOECC made a presentation to the Health and Environment Committee on April 19, 2016. Click to view a copy of the 2014 Aamjiwnaang Air Monitoring Results Presentation.
The air monitoring station includes continuous (real-time) and non-continuous air monitoring equipment.
Continuous (real-time) equipment is used to monitor the following:
- SO2: Sulphur dioxide (SO2) comes from electrical power plants and industrial facilities. It contributes to acid rain, and can have human health impacts at higher concentrations. SO2 is measured in parts per billion (ppb).
- TRS: Total reduced sulphur (TRS) compounds result from both industrial and natural sources. TRS compounds are not typically considered a health hazard, however, they are a primary cause of odours. TRS (primarily H2S, or hydrogen sulphide), is measured in ppb.
- NO, NO2, NOx: Nitrogen oxides (NOx) result from cars, power plants, and industrial sources. They are a key factor in the production of ground-level ozone and acid rain, and can lead to lung irritation. NOx are measured in ppb.
- PM5: Fine particulate matter (PM2.5), or respirable particulate, comes primarily from chemical reactions of combustion products and other reactive gases introduced into the atmosphere, as well as fine material generated by mechanical processes such as tire and brake wear in vehicles. Fine particulate and the gases that form it can travel hundreds of kilometers from their sources. PM2.5 is measured in µg/m3 using a SHARP particulate analyser.
- Wind Speed/Wind Direction: Wind conditions are measured using an anemometer, which measures wind speed in km/hr and wind direction in degrees (0°-360°). Wind direction is based on the direction from which the wind is blowing.
- VOC: Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are carbon-containing chemicals that exist as a gas, at least partially, at normal environmental temperatures and pressures. VOC can be emitted from vehicles, fossil fuel combustion, manufacturing, and natural sources. Some VOC can have health and environmental impacts. A selection of 11-13 VOC are analysed using a Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS). Concentrations are given in ppb.
Non-continuous monitoring involves collecting samples that are sent for laboratory analysis. Non-continuous monitoring is carried out at the station for the following:
- TSP and metals – Total suspended particulate (TSP) includes all particulate (including dust, smoke, haze, aerosols, fumes and mists) that is ≤ 44 microns in diameter. Particulate may contain metals, such as copper, nickel, cadmium, chromium, lead, iron, manganese, vanadium, and zinc. High concentrations of metals can cause a range of health impacts. TSP and its constituent metals are measured using a high-volume air sampler that draws air through a filter for a 24-hour period. The filter is then analysed at the MOECC laboratory. TSP and metals samples are taken every 6 days.
- VOC – Volatile organic compound samples are collected in specially prepared evacuated canisters (SUMMA canisters). The canisters collect air over a 24-hour period, and are then sent to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s laboratory for analysis for over 150 compounds by Gas Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS). Canister VOC samples were taken every 12 days from 2008-2015, and as of January 2016, samples are taken every 6 days.
- PAH – Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are common products of industrial processes and domestic activities, including burning fuel such as coal or wood, and barbecuing. Some PAH are known to be carcinogenic. PAH samples are collected using a high volume sampler with a Teflon filter. The sampler draws air through the filter for a 24-hour period, and then the filter is sent to the MOECC laboratory for analysis by Gas Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS). PAH samples are taken every 12 days.