Letter Published in Sherwood Park News Nov. 15, 2013

Posted on November 20, 2013

Re: Heartland dilemma: pure air or low taxes?

Last week’s editorial raises questions about the air quality in the region. As Fort Air Partnership (FAP) is the group responsible for monitoring and reporting on air quality immediately north of Sherwood Park, I thought your readers might like to know that we track 19 regulated substances 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in and around Alberta’s Industrial Heartland. Our work is transparent, guided by an expert scientific advisory group, driven by national and provincial standards, and is available to anyone including university researchers.

As a non-profit, independent organization, half of our Board is made up of public members. What we collect and report on is rigorously controlled, monitored and guided by government set objectives.  We monitor for both hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds and immediately alert the Government of Alberta whenever an air quality standard is exceeded.

And while our mandate is not to analyze the health or environmental impacts of what we record, our long history of testing shows the air quality in the area to be well within accepted guidelines most of the time.  For example, benzene exceeded the Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objective during a one hour period once in 2009; not at all in 2010; twice in 2011; and once in 2012. 

As a public service, FAP provides a daily current and forecast air quality index on our website www.heartlandairmonitoring.org  . It is continuously updated in real time. We invite your readers to check out the index and find out more about what substances we monitor and how we monitor them.

Joy Wesley, Public Member and Chair, Fort Air Partnership