New monitoring station added to network

Agassiz station a key to the bigger picture, says Metro Vancouver

A new piece of the air shed puzzle has been placed in Agassiz.

An air quality monitoring station was placed on top of the District of Kent’s municipal hall on June 3, on the side that used to house the fire hall. From day one, it began helping monitoring weather and gathering important data about the air.

Ken Reid and Roger Quan from Metro Vancouver came to Kent council last Monday night to discuss the operations of the station, and explain how the data is collected and why.

While there are several stations around Metro Vancouver, the closest to Agassiz were previously Hope and Chilliwack. The Agassiz station will provide valuable information, Reid said, because of its location.

“It’s uniquely located at the head of the Harrison River, which helps monitor quality and flow,” he said.

Knowing where the particulates are moving will help with air quality planning. It already does help, they pointed out. When air quality is a health problem, or even nearing a health problem, industrial operators are required to scale back their activity.

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” Quan said.

Those studying the data collected at stations can pinpoint issues like grid lock, increased summer traffic and wildfire smoke. The data is collected automatically and continuously with the help of technicians, who will be visiting the station regularly.

Agassiz’s air quality monitoring station is the 27th in the province. Two more stations will be added to the program in the near future, in Mission and New Westminster.

Readouts from the stations are available through metrovancouver.org.