Monitoring Air Quality In The Peace Region.


Automatic Zero/Span: Analyzer self-tests by measuring the baseline level, allowing for correction of any bias in the data due to a non-zero baseline. The analyzer then tests at a known, high concentration (“span”) to verify that the analyzer responds to the introduction of the compound of interest and that it responds as expected.

Technician review: A technician with the operations contractor reviews the previous 72 hours of data on a daily basis to verify regular operation of the station and triggers action if appropriate.


Calibration: Stations are attended every calendar month at minimum to check normal operation and conditions as well as to calibrate instrumentation. Instruments are “challenged” with known concentrations of gasses and the outcome of these tests used to correct the raw data.

Quality Assurance/Quality Control and Reporting: Data analyst reviews the previous month of data for invalid data, applies baseline corrections suggested by the daily zero/spans as well as adjustments due to monthly calibrations, both as noted above. Data reports are generated and the data submitted to the CASA Data Warehouse, where another review is conducted by automated systems before acceptance.


Audit: An auditor from Alberta Environment attends each station with the operations contractor to independently verify the station and analyzers are being operated in conformance with the Air Monitoring Directive.

In addition, the Grande Prairie Henry Pirker and Beaverlodge stations are part of the National Air Pollution Surveillance Program, which monitors and assesses the quality of outdoor air in populated regions of Canada.

Air quality can be impacted by many sources both through human activity and natural phenomenon.

  • Point Sources: factories, industry, power plants, home and business heating and cooling
  • Mobile Sources: transportation, vehicles, aircraft
  • Natural Sources: trees, vegetation, wetlands, gas seeps, forest fires
  • Area Sources: small sources, BBQs, firepits, drycleaners, pesticide use

In addition to wind speed and direction and important meteorological parameters that affect the transport and dispersion of air, monitoring at the stations is based on what is expected to be present in an area and available technology. For example, monitoring stations in urban centres typically measure for Nitrogen Oxides, Carbon Monoxide, Par- ticulate Matter, and Ozone, the parameters commonly associated with vehicle emissions and home heating and cooling. In an industrial area we may monitor for Sulphur Dioxide, Total Reduced Sulphurs, Hydrogen Sulphides, Total Hydrocarbons, Methane, Non-Methane or Fine Particulate Matter, depending on the industry. In rural areas we may monitor for Particulate Matter, Ozone, or Nitrogen Oxides.

Passively monitored parameters:

  • Sulphur dioxide
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Ozone
  • Hydrogen sulphide

Continuously monitored parameters:

  • Sulphur dioxide (SO2)
  • Total reduced sulphur (TRS)
  • Hydrogen sulphide (H2S)
  • Oxides of nitrogen (NO2, NO and NOX)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Total hydrocarbons (THC)
  • Methane (MHC)
  • Non-Methane (NmHC)
  • Ozone (O3)
  • Fine particulate matter (PM2.5)

Meteorological parameters (that affect the transportation and dispersion of compounds):

  • Wind speed and direction
  • Solar Radiation
  • Outdoor Temperature
  • Relative Humidity

Annual Photo Contest

Our annual photo contest aims to highlight the awesome talents of Peace region photographers and to show off the natural splendour of our local landscapes. All photographers are welcome to enter.