Air monitoring website blowing in soon
Real time air monitoring in the Sarnia area is coming soon to a website near you.
A coalition of First Nations, environmental and health branches of government, the City of Sarnia, and local industries under the banner of Clean Air Sarnia and Area (CASA) have been collaborating for two years to improve air monitoring in the Sarnia area and make the data more easily accessible.
Using seven air monitoring stations that cover parts of Sarnia and Aamjiwnaang First Nation, the website plan calls for hourly updates on air quality, including tracking harmful compounds like sulphur dioxide and benzene, while also tracking particulate matter, giving access to archived data and showing how the area air quality compares with the rest of the province.
it is real time, that great, said Aamjiwnaang Chief Joanne Rogers.
The First Nation environment committee and other community members have been part of the CASA discussions.
hear so often our community members saying don know what going on, she said, adding think that a good tool for us to have. third party is developing the site for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) led project, and the ministry and the Sarnia Lambton Environmental Association (SLEA) a non profit cooperative made up of 20 local industries are working together to cover operational costs and network improvements, a ministry spokesperson said.
The data is colour coded red, yellow and green, so it easier to interpret when there a problem versus when everything is normal, said Katarina Ovens, a spokesperson with the City of Sarnia.
The seven stations range from LaSalle Line near Corunna, to just south of the Sarnia Golf and Curling Club, she said.
They have different capabilities, said Dean Edwardson, general manager of SLEA.
Some track meteorological data, others can monitor various compounds. At least one dates back to 1952, he said.
think it timely and we looking forward to moving forward with that, he said about the CASA website project.
The collaborative also includes Health Canada, Lambton Public Health, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and Walpole Island First Nation.
Similar websites have been set up in other Ontario communities, said Bryan Prouse, operations manager with the City of Sarnia.
Sarnia version has been under development since early in 2017, said Lindsay Davidson, a spokesperson with Ontario Environment Ministry, in an email.
Plans are also to hold focus groups and improve the website as needed, based on user feedback, officials said.
Network tests are planned in 2018 to see if there adequate monitoring coverage, said Teresa Lannin, another spokesperson with the Environment Ministry.
A new volatile organic compound analyzer was recently installed and another is coming soon, she said.
The announcement comes amid renewed attention to emissions from Sarnia Chemical Valley. Ontario Environment Minister Chris Ballard recently committed to revive a defunct community health study, and has proposed tighter restrictions for benzene and sulphur dioxide emissions.
Particulate, metals, hydrocarbons and other pollutants would be sampled at several stations every six or 12 days, Davidson said.