High Marks Received in Recent Performance Audit

Posted on October 12, 2017

A recent provincial audit of Fort Air Partnership’s (FAP) air monitoring network resulted in high marks for performance. During August, 48 of 52 analyzers were audited with only three not meeting the audit requirements. One of these was directly related to a power outage the morning of the audit, leading to a calibration issue.  The other two were also due to analyzers not meeting calibration targets. All of the issues were resolved within hours.  The other four analyzers will be audited at a future date.

“These are extremely good results that reinforce to ourselves and the public that we are continuously providing credible, high quality, local ambient air monitoring data,” said Nadine Blaney, FAP’s Executive Director. Continuous gas analyzers exist in all nine of FAP’s continuous air monitoring stations. This specialized equipment reports on concentrations of specific pollutants in the air.

The audit was conducted by Alberta Environment and Parks. In addition to the analyzer tests, the independent auditor found several minor areas for improvement. These were related to cleaning and preventative maintenance issues, and measurement comparisons to auditor-certified equipment. In addition to the audit of critical measurements, auditors also assessed another 65 of 66 non-critical items such as relative humidity readings and trailer internal temperature. Only two items were recommended for improvement.

Blaney noted these items were dealt with soon after the audit results were received. “It’s our policy to address any issues as quickly as we can so that the data we produce retains its accuracy, credibility and value to the public, industry, government and researchers.”

Auditing is an important part of FAP’s comprehensive quality assurance program. In addition to these annual audits of the monitoring network, FAP conducts regular internal performance reviews and independent Quality Assurance Plan audits.  FAP also performs other quality assurance activities such as challenging continuous gas analyzers with known gas concentrations daily and calibrating them monthly. FAP’s Technical Working Group and air monitoring data analyst also review data quality indicators every month. Read the audit summary report.

3rd Quarter Results Affected by Forest Fires

Posted on October 5, 2017

Fort Air Partnership (FAP), the organization that monitors the air local residents breathe, released third quarter Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) results today.  Results show air quality in and around Alberta’s Industrial Heartland from July 1 to September 30 of 2017 was impacted significantly by forest fire smoke from British Columbia and elsewhere.

Five of FAP’s air monitoring stations collect data that is used by the Government of Alberta in the calculation of a daily AQHI, which describes the level of health risk associated with an AQHI level. The health risk increases as the index level rises.

The index at the five stations registered low risk readings the vast majority of the time. Lamont County had the highest percentage of low risk readings and Gibbons had the least. However all stations were in the low risk category more than 92% of the time.  Of the 10,541 monitored hours, 48 hours reached the AQHI high risk category. Most of these were caused by forest fire smoke.

Risk Level (% of time in each)
Station Name Hours Monitored Low Moderate High Very High
Bruderheim 2135 93.54% 5.95% 0.51% 0.00%
Elk Island 2099 93.43% 6.05% 0.38% 0.14%
Fort Saskatchewan* 2035 92.58% 7.42% 0.00% 0.00%
Gibbons 2121 92.03% 7.26% 0.52% 0.19%
Lamont County 2151 94.65% 4.83% 0.51% 0.00%
Total hours 10,541 9,830 663 41 7

*Instrumentation issues for several days in July and August may have affected calculation of AQHI readings at this station. However, regional forecasting for the Fort Saskatchewan area based on data from all stations in the region was still valid during this period.

On our website, local residents can check the forecast and daily AQHI and a live data feed on a variety of substances. We also now post weekly and quarterly AQHI results for our air monitoring stations.