The Western Yellowhead Air Management Zone Inc. will be placing a permanent air monitoring device just outside Unity sometime later this month. The instrument will be calibrated the following month and should be operational by the end of November.
Once the system is fully operational, results will be available to the public, as well as to government and industry.
About the size of a small refrigerator or filing cabinet, the airpointer system can measure a wide variety of pollutants including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone, sulphur dioxide, H2S, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter. With components that also measure temperature, wind speed and wind direction, analysts will also be able to tell where any pollutants are coming from.
The WYAMZ website explains: “An air zone association is intended to operate as an independent, collaborative non-profit organization of industry, government and other representatives for the purpose of collecting credible, continuous air quality data, and to communicate data and information to member organizations, the government, and the public.”
WYAMZ was set up with the support of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment and is funded by its members, which includes many private industry entities as well as government. Executive director Terry Gibson explained each industrial partner is invoiced according to their specific environmental footprint under a formula developed by the Ministry of Environment. The environmental footprint takes into account emissions and production volumes.
Gibson said participation in the air monitoring zone is of benefit to industry as it allows them to be proactive in preventing environmental damage. “Businesses want to be good corporate citizens,” he said. They spend a lot of money on scrubbers and other equipment and technology to reduce emissions and monitoring air quality helps to let them know what is working and what isn’t.
Gibson says, “The Western Yellowhead Air Management Zone is committed to monitoring the air quality in the region to protect the citizens and environment.” He encourages people to visit their website at www.wyamz.ca for more information.
Check out the Oct. 14 issue of the Unity-Wilkie Press-Herald for additional details.