|How We Monitor|
The LICA airshed monitoring network consists of 4 continuous monitoring stations, 26 passive monitoring stations, 2 volatile organic compound and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon samplers, and 2 soil acidification monitoring plots.
Continuous monitoring stations provide up-to-the-minute measurements of ambient concentrations for several man-made (anthropogenic) and natural emissions. Continuous monitoring in the LICA network is carried out in Cold Lake South (Cold Lake South station), southwest of St. Lina (St. Lina station), east of Elk Point (Elk Point Airport), and in the immediate vicinity of thermal heavy oil operations approximately 10 kilometers southwest of Marie Lake (Maskwa station). They sample for several parameters including sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, reduced sulphur compounds, ozone, oxides of nitrogen, total hydrocarbons, and particulate matter.
Passive monitoring stations generally follow a 3 x 3 township grid distribution pattern; samples are analyzed once per month. The data is used for understanding regional patterns in air quality and for long term trend analyses. Ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and hydrogen sulphide are sampled for in the passive monitoring network.
Sampling for volatile organic compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is carried out at selected locations, currently at the Cold Lake South and Portable stations. 24-hour integrated samples are collected every six days in accordance with the National Pollutant Surveillance (NAPS) program; hundreds of compounds can be detected using this method.
In 2010 and 2011, LICA established a fourth type of long‐term monitoring — soil acidification sampling at plots in Moose Lake Provincial Park and Whitney Lake Provincial Park. LICA’s soil monitoring enhances an already-existing Alberta Environment and Water soil acidification monitoring program near the Cold Lake Fish Hatchery. A third LICA‐operated site will be added in 2012 in the northern part of the airshed zone.
Interactive Map of LICA's Regional Air Quality Monitoring Network