Pollutant Transformation, Ground-based Pollutant Monitoring Multi Parameters - Validated Data - Fort McKay, Oil Sands Region
Long Term Air Pollutant and Meteorological Monitoring at Fort McKay’s Oski-ôtin site: Validated data
Continuous monitoring of multiple air pollutants along with meteorological conditions began in Fort McKay at the Oski-ôtin site in August 2013. The purpose of Oski-ôtin’s enhanced monitoring is to gain a clearer picture of the mixture, transport and fate of air pollutants produced from the different oil sands related activities. Compared to the pre-existing monitoring conducted by Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) in Fort McKay and throughout the region, the Oski-ôtin site provides measurements for a larger number of pollutants using research grade instruments (configured to be more precise at lower concentrations). Instruments located at this site also monitor pollutants, winds and temperatures at multiple heights above the ground.
The Oski-ôtin site is located 0.6 km south of the Fort McKay WBEA air monitoring site (AMS 1 Bertha Ganter); therefore, peak concentrations of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone (O3), are generally similar at both sites in time and concentration. Oski-ôtin’s enhanced monitoring capacity shows that other pollutants, including several volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO) and particle-related chemical species (e.g., sulphate, black carbon), regularly occur in the air over Fort McKay at concentrations above regional background levels. Generally, these pollutant concentrations are not of immediate concern, but cumulative impacts in the long-term can be significant. Elevated VOC concentrations can contribute to odour events in Fort McKay.
Both preliminary data and final, validated data from the Oski-ôtin site are available. Following an extensive data quality assurance and quality control process, the final data are typically made available within twelve months of being collected. The final, validated data can support improvements to modeling capability to predict current and future air pollutant levels and surface deposition amounts near and also far downwind of the oil sands.
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