New Air Quality Monitoring Station
May 17, 2022
Look out for Hinton’s new Air Quality Monitoring Station, set to be installed in the next few weeks.
West Central Airshed Society (WCAS), a non-profit that operates monitoring stations throughout Alberta, is installing a new station in Hinton. It will be located at an ideal monitoring site at the Hillcrest Reservoir, west of Father Gerard Redmond Community Catholic School, within a fenced enclosure. The station will be a new WCAS trailer – 20 feet long, eight feet wide, and 13 feet high, with an extendable tower for meteorological measurements.
The Town has provided WCAS a no-cost land lease for the new station, and WCAS will be responsible for all additional costs, such as electrical power (hookup and operating), which is consistent with similar arrangements in Edson and Drayton Valley.
Hinton’s air quality is currently monitored at a station that was installed in 1997 at 198 East River Road. However, given its location close to a gravel road, adjacent to a pullout with idling trucks, and on the fence line of an industrial emitter, WCAS says the results are not fully representational of the Hinton’s overall air quality.
Once the new station is installed, the East River Road station will remain operational for regulatory compliance purposes, but the new site will become the primary community monitoring station. It will monitor for the following parameters:
1. Ozone - O3
2. Fine Particulate Matter - PM2.5
3. Nitrogen Dioxide - NO2
4. Sulphur Dioxide
5. Total Reduced Sulphur
The resulting data is used for regulatory compliance, public health, land planning, and community awareness of ambient air quality. Ozone, Fine Particulate Matter, and Nitrogen Dioxide levels are used for calculating the Air Quality Index.
All WCAS monitoring data is available live on their website at wcas.ca, and Air Quality Index is available through a variety of sources including phone apps.