Vehicle emissions top Red Deer’s air quality concerns

PAMZ will study fine particulates in our atmosphere

Concerns about vehicle emissions surpassed worries about oilfield flaring at a public open house on air quality in Red Deer.

About 15 people expressed concerns at a Wednesday evening meeting held by the Parkland Airshed Management Zone (PAMZ).

Most voiced “typical urban centre issues,” said executive-director Kevin Warren. “They were concerned about emissions from motor vehicles” — particularly and cars and trucks running on diesel fuel, and those left idling.

Warren said 10 or 20 years ago there was more worry about oilfield flaring, but oil and gas production in the area has since gone down, older plants have modernized or installed carbon-capturing equipment, so the levels are much lower now.

“Our sulphur-dioxide levels are about a third of what they were in 2000.”

This week, Warren also heard concerns about homes that are heated by burning wood and other “bio-masses” that causes air pollution. And he needs to look further into a concern raised about methane gas being burned at the Red Deer landfill.

While this would reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, Warren said it might still affect local air quality.

PAMZ recently started tracking fine air particulate matter over Red Deer. Warren believes enough data will be collected to know more by the end of the year.

Generally, Red Deer has “pretty good” air quality — except during forest fires or cold-air inversions, he said. But PAMZ tracks public concerns so mobile air monitors can be relocated to where they are most needed.

For instance, there will be new monitoring done where 30th Avenue turns into Rural Road 272, near Clearview Ridge, because of previous complaints of a rotten egg smell emanating from underground sewer lines.

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