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Found 10 records similar to Ambient Air Quality, Oil Sands Region
Ambient concentrations of speciated mercury (Hg) have been measured at many locations across Canada. Mercury in the atmosphere is measured in three operationally-defined forms - gaseous elemental mercury (GEM), reactive gaseous mercury (RGM), and particulate-bound mercury (PBM). Under most conditions, GEM (or Hg0) is the predominant species in the air (~95-99%), while RGM and PBM concentrations are typically two orders of magnitude lower, i.e., <5% of the total atmospheric mercury concentration. Reactive gaseous mercury is thought to consist of compounds such as HgCl2, HgBr2, Hg(OH)2 although the exact composition is unknown.
Ambient concentrations of speciated mercury (Hg) have been measured at many locations across Canada. Mercury in the atmosphere is measured in three operationally-defined forms - gaseous elemental mercury (GEM), reactive gaseous mercury (RGM), and particulate-bound mercury (PBM). Under most conditions, GEM (or Hg0) is the predominant species in the air (~95-99%), while RGM and PBM concentrations are typically two orders of magnitude lower, i.e., <5% of the total atmospheric mercury concentration (Schroeder and Munthe, 1998). Reactive gaseous mercury is thought to consist of compounds such as HgCl2, HgBr2, Hg(OH)2 (Lin and Pehkonen, 1999), although the exact composition is unknown.
Measurements of gaseous elemental mercury (GEM), gaseous oxidized mercury (GOM) and particulate bound mercury on PM2.5 (referred to as PBM) are currently collected by Environment and Climate Change Canada at a Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) Air Monitoring Station (AMS). Preliminary, three-hour averaged speciated mercury data from the oil sands region are available for WBEA AMS 13 – Fort McKay South, located near Fort McKay, Alberta. There are no Environment and Climate Change Canada or Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) air quality guidelines, nor Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives for speciated Hg measurements. The monitoring follows the established Canadian Air and Precipitation Monitoring Network (CAPMoN) standard operating procedures.
From August 10 to September 10, 2013, ground-based monitoring was significantly augmented at the Fort McKay South site (AMS13) to measure additional air pollutants and meteorological properties beyond what was available from the established long-term air quality monitoring in the area. This air monitoring study, undertaken in parallel with measurements from an aircraft flying over and downwind of the oil sands, was designed to gain a clearer picture of the mixture of air pollutants produced from different oil sands related activities and how they react and are transported in the atmosphere. These data are used to improve the capability of air quality models to determine current and future air pollutant levels and amounts of atmospheric deposition of pollutants over and downwind of the oil sands region. Periods of elevated pollutant concentrations were observed; however, none of these surpassed the current short duration (hourly, 8 hour or 24 hour) federal and provincial standards.
Trace gas data sets measured by Canadian and U.S. ground-based monitoring networks from 1982 to the present including non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC), ozone (O3) and total gaseous mercury (TGM). Included are Canadian federal and provincial networks (past and present) and U.S. historical networks (for data not available elsewhere). These data sets are associated with various networks that monitor a variety of trace and reactive gases. Non-Methane Hydrocarbons were measured and monitored in a study at Egbert, Ontario at the Centre for Atmospheric Research and Experiments, CARE.
In the oil sands air monitoring component, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) levels are monitored by ground-based instruments, satellites and other measurements. Monitoring of air pollutants from satellites is becoming an alternative to surface and aircraft measurements, and allows for better understanding of the global distribution, sources and trends of pollutants. Using satellite data for the oil sands region, high-resolution air pollutant maps show distinct concentrations of NO2 (Figure 1a) and SO2 (Figure 1b) over an area (roughly 30 km x 50 km, or 19 miles x 31 miles) of intensive oil sands surface mining. The map shows that NO2 concentrations are significant and are comparable to measurements made over large, individual sources such as coal-burning power plants.
Measurements of gaseous elemental mercury (GEM), gaseous oxidized mercury (GOM) and particulate bound mercury on PM2.5 (referred to as PBM2.5) were collected by Environment and Climate Change Canada from August to September 2013 at the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) Air Monitoring Station (AMS) 13 – Fort McKay South, and at WBEA AMS 4 – Buffalo Viewpoint. Monitoring resumed at WBEA AMS 13 in September 2014 with two speciated mercury instruments and is ongoing. One speciated mercury instrument monitors GEM, GOM, and PBM2.5; the second speciated mercury instrument monitors GEM, GOM, and mercury on PM10 (referred to as PBM10). These data are the first atmospheric speciated mercury measurements to be reported in the oil sands region.
Measurements of aerosol optical depth (AOD) using sunphotometers are being made in the oil sands region (at Fort McKay’s Oski-ôtin site, and Fort McMurray). AOD is a measure of the degree to which atmospheric aerosols absorb or scatter sunlight anywhere from the top of the atmosphere to the ground. These tiny solid or liquid particles can have natural or anthropogenic sources including dust, sea salt, smoke, or pollutants. Measurements of AOD made in the oil sands region can be compared with data collected at other Canadian locations from the AErosol RObotic CANadian (AEROCAN) network, such as Kelowna, BC; Lethbridge, AB; Bratt’s Lake and Waskesiu, SK; and Yellowknife, NT.
Tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nest boxes are installed in oil sands area and in reference locations to monitor contaminant levels and impacts on tree swallow nestlings. The exposure to tree swallow nestlings to air-borne oil sands-related contaminants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is assessed using passive air samplers. Measures of avian health are examined in relation to location of sampling and contaminants measured.
Air emissions from oil sands development can come from a number of sources including industrial smokestacks, tailings ponds, transportation, and dust from mining operations. Air quality monitoring under the Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for the Oil Sands is designed to determine the contribution of emissions from oil sands activities to local and regional air quality and atmospheric deposition both now and in the future. Deposition data include:- Passive Sampling of PACs deployed for two month periods across a network of 17 sites - Active sampling of PACs at three sites to inform the amount of dry deposition - Particulate metals (24 hour integrated samples following the one in six day National Air Pollution Surveillance (NAPS) cycle)