Local air quality fails to meet standards, action required

Central Alberta’s air quality has failed to meet federal standards and action is required.

Central Alberta’s air quality has failed to meet federal standards and action is required.

Results of the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards shows the Red Deer Region has exceeded standards for particulate matter, according to results released on Wednesday.

The poor results trigger a mandatory response action plan to reduce levels below ambient standards.

Four other Alberta regions are nearing the limits of acceptable levels. The Lower Athabasca, Upper Athabasca, North Saskatchewan and South Saskatchewan zones require management plans to protect them from exceeding standards in the future.

Alberta Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips said Alberta is on track for having the worst air quality in Canada in coming years and she pledged to take action.

“These results are concerning,” she says in a statement accompanying the results. “We can’t keep going down the same path and expecting a different result.

“Our government has a responsibility to protect the health of Albertans by ensuring air pollution from all sources is addressed.”

The province is already looking at a number of options to reverse the damage, including more stringent standards for industry, standards for vehicles and increased air monitoring.

Stakeholders, including industry polluters, have been consulted as part of an advisory committee working on a management plan.

A scientific study on the causes of the elevated readings is already underway and will be posted on Alberta Environment’s website when complete.

In Central Alberta, readings were taken at a monitoring station in Riverside Industrial Park between 2011 and 2013.

Ozone is measured based on a three-year average of the fourth highest daily maximum in eight-hour concentrations.

Particulate matter is measured using a three-year average concentration and a separate standard based on 24-hour concentrations.