WCAS/about/overview

Airshed Overview

The West Central Airshed Society (WCAS), Alberta’s first airshed management zone, has been in place since 1995 to monitor, and promote effective management of air quality within an airshed management zone. This zone is approximately 46,000 square kilometers and spans from Carvel to the BC border. West Central Airshed Society is a multi–stakeholder group, consisting of individuals, industries, environmental organizations, municipalities and other levels of government, all dedicated to clean air and a healthy community.

Thirteen continuous on-line air quality monitoring stations, five agricultural bio-receptor monitoring sites, and two forestry bio-monitoring sites are strategically located throughout the zone to represent areas with industrial activity and areas remote from man-made emission sources.

Air quality monitoring and reporting methods used by the WCAS are compatible with those of Alberta Environment and Parks.  Continuous monitoring is required to meet the Alberta Environment and Parks compliance standards for maximum hourly concentrations of pollutants.  Continuous air monitoring is also needed to link any symptoms of stress observed on test crops to changes in air quality.  Trace level monitors are used to measure the wide range of pollutant concentrations encountered within the zone and to accurately assess changes in air quality.  WCAS uses passive monitoring systems at two bio-monitoring sites.  These passive monitoring systems are capable of providing approximate average measurements of a pollutant concentration over extended periods of time.

Goals

The Society's Board is comprised of representatives from a variety of sectors. This approach helps ensure a number of perspectives are brought to the decision‐making table. WCAS goals include:

  • Monitoring air quality in the region
  • Providing credible, scientifically valid data to all stakeholders
  • Working collaboratively to make air quality in West Central Alberta the best it can be, for everyone

Purpose

The purposes for which the West Central Airshed Society was formed are:

  1. to provide a forum for discussion and co-ordination of matters related to the management of an airshed monitoring and management program for the Zone.  Monitoring programs will be designed to identify and quantify air quality concerns and the Board will develop and implement options to address concerns identified.
  2. to promote understanding between the Society, governments, stakeholders, the public, other airshed zones and other organizations about environmental impacts of activities inside and outside the airshed in regard to air quality within the airshed.
  3. to identify and quantify on a credible basis air quality concerns, and use the data to recommend and implement airshed management solutions for the Zone.
  4. to coordinate and integrate airshed monitoring and management activities within the Zone with the provincial policies and guidelines as developed by Clean Air Strategic Alliance (CASA) and/or Provincial air quality stakeholders in their respective areas of authority.

Air Quality Data

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