If all goes to plan the Ministry of Environment will be operating its Mobile Air Monitoring Laboratory from the Port Alberni fire hall.
Port Alberni Fire Department Chief Tim Pley made the announcement at city council’s Nov. 25 meeting.
PAFD and MOE officials are discussing the potential for the vehicle to be parked at the fire hall for six to 12 months. The move would enhance the level of air quality monitoring in the Alberni Valley, Pley said.
According to an MOE spokesperson the lab hasn’t monitored Alberni’s air quality since early 2000.
Industry has changed since with some mills having closed and others curtailed, the spokesperson said.
As well, the population dipped in numbers but has rebounded since. “We’re not expecting to see too much change in residential emissions,” he said.
The project would not cost the city anything and would not interfere with fire department operations, he said.
According to the MOE website, the mobile lab is built on a Ford F550 chassis and houses special equipment that measures ground level ozone, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide levels. Data from the equipment is transferred to the MOE’s air monitoring database, where it is posted for viewing at Mobile Air Quality Monitoring Data web page.
Catalyst Paper Corp. already monitors the Valley’s air quality as part of a permit requirement from the MOE.
The lab has been dispatched to monitor air in James Bay, Whistler and the Peace River.
Port Alberni’s is being considered because the site is sturdy and has a power hookup.