Air Quality: Intro


It’s not always easy to get a good understanding about the quality of the air we breathe. After all, we are dealing with a resource that you can’t see and that is usually odourless. To complicate matters, even if our air was in a visible form, or came with an odour, it could still be safe to breathe. As SLEA member companies learned decades ago, measuring air quality scientifically against specific health risk-related standards set by provincial and federal regulators is a sound way of assessing local plant emissions and ambient atmospheric conditions.

Air Monitoring Station, Front St. at Davis St., Sarnia

Tracking Air

Eight SLEA owned and operated and three MOECC operated are strategically situated up- and downwind of local industrial plants, form the SLEA’s air monitoring network. The monitoring stations automatically collect and analyze air samples and record hourly averages of targeted contaminants present. With some data dating back to the late 1970s, the network tracks sulphur dioxide, ozone, nitrogen oxides, a preset series of volatile organic compounds, respirable particulate matter and total reduced sulphur. The compounds have been selected for their connections with local industrial manufacturing processes. As well, the monitoring network tracks local smog levels and general weather conditions.

Sarnia-Lambton Monitors Track:

  • Six contaminants are commonly measured across Canada: sulphur dioxide, ozone, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, respirable particulate matter, total reduced sulphur.
  • Smog
  • Meteorology

Mobile Monitor

photo_air_intro-02Since 2001, the association has also maintained a mobile air quality monitoring unit. The self-contained trailer can be moved promptly to the scene of an environmental incident, but is most often used on the sites of member companies during large-scale maintenance and construction projects.