Environmental Assessment Report Air Quality in Montréal - PDF

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7 ANNUAL REPORT RSQA RÉSEAU DE SURVEILLANCE DE LA QUALITÉ DE L AIR Environmental Assessment Report Air Quality in Montréal Highlights Slight Decrease in the Number of Poor Air Quality Days

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7 ANNUAL REPORT RSQA RÉSEAU DE SURVEILLANCE DE LA QUALITÉ DE L AIR Environmental Assessment Report Air Quality in Montréal Highlights Slight Decrease in the Number of Poor Air Quality Days In 7, there were 44 days of poor air quality, a slight decrease (6%) from 6. This result is due to initiatives implemented to improve the air quality in Montréal s East End industrial sector. However, in Rivière-des-Prairies, a residential neighbourhood, the situation has deteriorated, with a total of 3 poor air quality days compared to 3 in 6. Of these 3 days, 5 were recorded during the winter due to the local impact of residential wood heating. Particulate Matter: Always a Problem Particulate matter (PM.5 ), emitted by multiple local and regional sources, is a recurrent cause of most poor air quality days in Montréal, i.e. 35 of the 44 recorded days in 7. Once again, the greatest hourly concentrations were recorded in Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve during fireworks at La Ronde. Marked Improvement in the Air Quality of Montréal s East End The two typical and representative ambient air pollutants emitted by Montréal s East End petrochemical sector were seriously curtailed in 7. Indeed concentrations of sulphur dioxide and benzene recorded at Station 3 on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Boulevard fell by 3% and % respectively. The RSQA (Réseau de surveillance de la qualité de l air) has never recorded such a low annual average for these two pollutants. Needless to say, we will pursue our collaborative efforts with local industries to further improve the situation. A Record: 4 Smog Warnings Issued during Summer 7 Fourteen smog warnings were issued during the summer of 7, the greatest number since. Such a high figure indicates that the summer s meteorological conditions favoured the formation of seasonal smog, of which ozone is an important component. Summer 7 weather conditions are one of the factors that explain an % increase in the average ozone concentrations recorded in all RSQA monitoring stations. The City Monitors Air Quality For Your Benefit! Concerned about the quality of its ambient air, the City of Montréal, over the last 4 years, has maintained a comprehensive surveillance network. Under Montréal s Direction de l environnement et du développement durable, the RSQA manages 7 monitoring stations, 3 of which operate on a continuous basis. In addition to measuring and monitoring the pollutants common to large urban centres, the RSQA monitors more than 7 volatile organic compounds (VOC) and semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOC). Thanks to Environment Canada s National Air Pollution Surveillance (NAPS) Network, the RSQA is able to draw on leading-edge technology. In 7, in cooperation with NAPS and the Borough of Anjou, the RSQA added a temporary monitoring station located near Chénier Arena. Its purpose is to monitor concentrations of airborne sulphur dioxide (SO ) and benzene and to assess the impacts of Montréal s East End industrial sector on air quality. large about air quality include the RSQA s Web site at communicating the air quality index (AQI) to metro users thanks to a partnership with Métrovision and participating in Québec s INFO-SMOG program, on air quality forecasts. Communicating air quality information to Montréal citizens is also an important mandate of the RSQA. Some of the means that are presently used by the City to inform the population at Station 7: Chénier Arena, Anjou RSQA Monitoring Stations on the Island of Montréal Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue NO 3, TSP, PM, PM,5, Pollen, VOC 99 Montréal Airport Dorval CO, NO 3, PM, VOC,5 66 Décarie Interchange Mont-Royal CO, NO 3, PM,5 Parc Pilon Montréal-Nord CO, NO 3, PM,5 9 Saint-Michel PM 44 Ontario, Ville-Marie NO 3, VOC, PM, PM,5 Rivière-des-Prairies O 3, PM, PM,5, VOC 55 Rivière-des-Prairies Pollen 59 Anjou 3 TSP, PM, PM,5 6 Chénier, Anjou 7 SO, NO X, VOC, PM Botanical Garden Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie SO, NO 3 Hochelaga-Maisonneuve TSP, PM, PM,5 5 Saint-Jean-Baptiste RDP-PAT SO, CO, NO, O, H S,,5 X 3,5 PM, PM, VOC Recorded Pollutants CO Carbon Monoxide VOC Volatile Organic Compounds HS Hydrogen Sulphide NOX Nitrogen Oxides (NO and NO ) PM Particulate Matter (less than microns) PM.5 Particulate Matter (less than.5 microns) Pollen Ragweed TSP Total Suspended Particulates SO Sulphur Dioxide O Ozone 3 49 Dorval Pollen Drummond, Ville-Marie TSP, PM, PM,5, Pollen Verdun 6 NO 3, Pollen 6 3 Maisonneuve, Ville-Marie SO, CO, NO 3, VOC Monitoring Station Number Particulate Matter and Wood Heating For many generations, wood burning, as an auxiliary heating source or simply for enjoyment, has been a lifestyle choice of many Quebecers. Despite its innocent appearance, wood smoke contains numerous toxins, notably particulate matter (PM.5 ), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NO x ), formaldehyde, VOC, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), as well as dioxins and furans. Health specialists confirm that exposure to wood smoke is often associated with respiratory problems. High concentrations of particulate matter, emitted by wood burning, contribute to winter smog. The surveillance conducted by the RSQA has determined that specific problems were associated with the presence of local sources of pollution thereby confirming that wood burning is a serious issue in terms of air quality in a densely populated area such as Montréal. During the wintertime, there have been occurrences where Montréal s overall air quality was rated as good or acceptable, except in those residential areas where wood burning was a factor. The figure below clearly indicates what has been observed at Station 55 (Rivière-des-Prairies), the only station located in this type of neighbourhood. Indeed, the effects of PM.5, when viewed in real time on RSQA s Web site, reveal high concentrations of particulate matter in the evenings. During the winter of 7, the number of Rivière-des-Prairies poor air quality days owing to PM.5 was nearly five times greater than in the downtown core and.5 times greater than in the refineries sector of Montréal-Est. During the summer, the same comparison results in the opposite conclusion, thereby clearly revealing the negative impacts of wood burning in the Rivière-des-Prairies area. Number of Poor Air Quality Days in Winter Due to Particulate Matter Station 55 Rivière-des-Prairies Station 3 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Station 5 Downtown Number of Poor Air Quality Days in Summer Due to Particulate Matter Station 55 Rivière-des-Prairies Station 3 Saint-Jean-Baptiste Station 5 Downtown 4 For many years now, Montréal has conducted public awareness campaigns on best practices respecting wood burning. Unfortunately, no air quality improvement has been observed. Wood burning, even in an environmentally-certified stove, emits pollutants. Also, it is worthwhile mentioning that the United States Environmental Protection Agency s (EPA) emission standards have been established on the basis of averages obtained in ideal laboratory-controlled conditions. For comparative purposes, it should be noted that a traditional wood stove in use for nine hours discharges as many airborne particles as a certified wood stove during 6 hours or an automobile during a full year (, km). For all of these reasons, wood stove burning is one of the activities for which Montréal is considering the implementation of solutions to reduce airborne concentrations of particulate matter with the view of improving air quality. NOTE: This is an image captured from the French-only RSQA Web site. 3 Number of Poor Air Quality Days Decreasing! Montréal s criteria for defining a poor air quality day were established in 4. These criteria for SO, issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), have been part of the AQI since January 4. Those for PM.5, from the same source, were adopted in January 3, and are still valid today, thus allowing for a comparison of the frequency of poor air quality days from 4 to 7. The table below outlines the AQI criteria used to define air quality on an hourly basis. Pollutant Type of Measurement AQI Reference Value Sulphur Dioxide (SO ) -minute moving ave. 5 μg/m 3 Ozone (O 3 ) Hourly average 6 μg/m 3 Nitrogen Dioxide (NO ) Hourly average 4 μg/m 3 Carbon Monoxide (CO) Hourly average 35 mg/m 3 Particulate Matter (PM.5 ) 3-hour moving average 35 μg/m 3 In 7, the RSQA only observed 44 poor air quality days in Montréal. Constantly improving since 4, the decline represents a more than 4% decrease over the last four years. Still, PM.5 are responsible for most of these poor air quality days. In 7, this pollutant was responsible for 35 of these 44 days (%), a figure similar to 6. The key difference between 6 and 7 is the important reduction in SO or SO / PM.5 events. During 6, these pollutants were responsible for 3 poor air quality days, compared to only three in 7. This represents a major (77%) decrease. As observed in most of the preceding years, with respect to the distribution of poor air quality days on a monthly basis, none occurred in April. However, May and June showed a total of six poor air quality days due to ozone, or a combination of O 3 / PM.5, compared to a single occurrence in 6. Number of Days Poor Air Quality Days in Montréal in 7 PM.5 PM.5 and O Month SO O3 PM.5 and SO 3 4 J F M A M J J A S O N D Number of Poor Air Quality Days Poor Air Quality Days in Montréal 4-7 Decreased by 4% in the Last Four Years! 7 Number of Days PM.5 PM.5 and O3 SO O3 PM.5 and SO August 4, 7 at :5 am PM.5 : 5.5 μg/m 3 4 Distribution of the Air Quality Index (AQI) on the Island of Montréal The Air Quality Index (AQI) is accounted for every hour based on five standard pollutants: SO, CO, O 3, NO and PM.5. It indicates whether air quality is good, fair (acceptable) or poor. The whole day is qualified by the greatest hourly AIQ recorded for that day. The map below illustrates the annual distribution of the AQI for 7. Since PM.5 are generally responsible for poor air quality, the comparison only refers to the data sourced from the eight stations measuring this pollutant. During 7, 44 days of poor air quality were recorded in Montréal. Station 99 (Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue) again recorded the lowest number of such days. Indeed, of the eight days recorded in 7, seven occurred during summer episodes of smog, a mostly regional phenomenon. Such a low value is due to the absence of pollutant sources in the immediate vicinity of this station. Located on the western tip of the Island of Montréal, the environment of this station is hardly impacted by transportation, industry or residential wood burning activities. The same cannot be said of Station 55 (Rivière-des-Prairies _ Pointe-aux-Trembles). Heavily influenced by residential wood burning, the number of days with poor air quality rose from 3 in 6 to 3 in 7 (43%). This increase is mainly due to the 5 days of poor air quality recorded during the winter period, from November to March. In the same borough, Station 3 (Saint-Jean-Baptiste Boulevard) has been credited with the greatest improvement: a reduction of 3% in the number of days with poor air quality. Compared to days in 6, only 5 such days were recorded during 7. This significant decrease is mainly due to initiatives targeting SO emissions. 3% Decrease In Days With Poor Air Quality In Montréal s East End Industrial Sector 7 Montréal Air Quality Index (AQI) Distribution of Air Quality Index (AQI) Days Good Acceptable Poor NOTE : Only Stations recording fine particulate matter (PM.5 ) are illustrated. 5 Marked Air Quality Improvement in Montréal s East End The Island of Montréal s East End is home to the greatest concentration of heavy industries, particularly those in the petroleum and petrochemical sector. Located on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Boulevard, downstream from the major industries with respect to western and southwestern prevailing winds, RSQA s Station 3 measures the airborne pollutants discharged by these industries. Among these pollutants, two products, namely SO and benzene, are under close observation and monitoring. Over the years, high concentrations of SO and benzene have required interventions from Montréal s Division du contrôle des rejets industriels of the Direction de l environnement et du développement durable. In 7, thanks to the efforts of these industries, the RSQA recorded a significant improvement in SO and benzene emissions. Efforts are ongoing to ensure further progress. A Very Significant Decrease of Sulphur Dioxide in 7 In Montréal, 5% of atmospheric emissions of SO come from the petroleum sector. Consequently, it is not surprising to find much greater concentrations of this pollutant in the East End of the Island compared to other areas. Also, even though concentrations of this pollutant have decreased almost everywhere in Montréal since, they have increased in the East End of the Island. As shown in the next figure, a major deviation from this trend was established in 7. In point of fact, Station 3 recorded a 3% decrease in the annual average concentrations of SO, compared with 6. This annual average (.4 μg/m 3 ) is the lowest ever recorded by the RSQA since this pollutant has been the subject of monitoring (3 years). The following figure presents the long-term trend of SO concentrations, showing a recent decrease after having been relatively stable over the past seven years. In 7, high concentrations of SO were responsible for only three days of poor air quality. This represents a major improvement compared to 6 when 3 days of poor air quality due to this pollutant were recorded. Finally, it is interesting to observe that no bad air quality days have been observed between July 7, 7 and the end of that year. Concentration (μg/m 3 ) Concentration (μg/m 3 ) SO in Montréal Fluctuations in the Annual Average Concentration (μg/m 3) * Insufficient data in Botanical Garden* Montréal East End Downtown* Sulphur Dioxide Emission Trends (SO) Station 3, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Boulevard Annual Norm 5 μg/m 3 6 Lowest Concentrations of Benzene Since 99 Montréal s Direction de l environnement et du développement durable has long been concerned by high levels of benzene in the East End area, the greatest concentrations in Canada. However, over the past three years, the average annual concentrations of benzene have gradually declined. In 7, the RSQA finally recorded an annual average lower than 3 μg/m 3, a first since benzene monitoring began in 99. Owing to this % decrease from last year, the average concentration of benzene in 7 is currently at.5 μg/m 3, the lowest ever recorded at Station 3 located on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Boulevard. This successful result is due to a close collaboration between Montréal s Division du contrôle des rejets industriels and industry partners from Montréal s East End. Mainly discharged into the atmosphere through gasoline manufacturing and distribution processes, benzene can be linked to a variety of sources often difficult to identify and control. In order to ensure best monitoring practices and better define the issues involved with the presence Concentration (μg/m3) Evolution of Benzene in the Ambient Air (99 7) Station 3, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Boulevard Years.5 of benzene, the RSQA has acquired a continuous benzene analyzer, to be installed and running in. This instrument will provide hourly results, allowing for a timelier response. Above all, it will facilitate the identification of possible sources of benzene emissions. Ambient Benzene Levels Have Decreased by 6% Since 4 7 INFO-SMOG Program: Now Available Throughout the Year Launched in 994, through a four-way partnership between the City of Montréal, the Direction de la santé publique de Montréal-Centre, Québec s Ministère du Développement durable, de l Environnement et des Parcs (MDDEP) and Environment Canada, the Info-Smog Program is now available every day of the year. Info-Smog is disseminated through various media and accessible on the Internet. The program serves two purposes: provide forecasts of air quality and warn the population about high smog levels. These warnings are accompanied by a message aiming to inform those at risk about the measures they should embrace to reduce their exposure to smog as well as to inform the population about ways in which it can contribute to reduce emissions of pollutants contributing to smog formation. number of smog warnings is relatively constant during the winter period, while it fluctuates significantly in the summer. This is due to meteorological conditions that can vary considerably from one summer to the other. A Record: 4 Smog Warnings Issued in Summer 7 When the program was launched, it only covered the April 5 th to September 3 th period, the only pollutant considered being ozone. Since, Info-Smog is available throughout the year, given that it now includes a daily forecast of PM.5 levels, made possible by their continuous measurement. Since 7, the air quality forecast is issued twice daily, in the morning and afternoon. Annual Number of Smog Warnings Outlined in the table below are the Info-Smog program official data for the Greater Montréal Area (GMA). A smog warning is a forecast of poor air quality issued specifically for the GMA and distinct from the forecast for other administrative regions in Québec. It s quite clear from the table that the Total Number of Smog Warnings Year Summer Winter Total June 7, 7 PM.5 : 45 μg/m 3 June 9, 7 PM.5 : 3 μg/m 3 As air quality is very closely related to weather conditions, these differences have an immediate impact on air quality. It seems that climatic variations from one season to the next have a stronger impact in summer than in winter. A rainy summer with mild temperatures noticeably decreases the formation of smog as seen in, 4 and 6. The total number of smog warnings per year varies between 7 and 6 from to 7 except for 6. The number of warnings was exceptionally low in 6, with only eight, while in 7 it returned to normal with a total of 6. Indeed, there were 4 smog warnings for the summer of 7, the greatest number since. RSQA Website Has a New Look The RSQA launched its first website in. Thanks to the AQI which is presented daily, citizens have an interactive tool at their disposal that systematically provides air quality updates. In 7, several modifications were made to the RSQA website to make it even more dynamic and easier to consult. FOUR REGIONS: The Island of Montréal is divided into four regions, each with its own AQI. The region s AQI value reflects the greatest AQI and also the most representative of the monitoring stations in that area. Identifiable by black dots, each station posts an hourly updated AQI. INFORMATION AT YOUR FINGERTIPS: By placing the cursor on the desired station, a circle appears and the information relating to that station appears above the map. Click on a station and a graphic illustrating the hourly fluctuations of measured pollutants appears beneath the map. TABS: To obtain a description of each monitoring station or a list of which pollutants are measured, after selecting a station, simply click on one of the tabs for further information. AQI TABLE: A table has been created in order to quickly obtain the hourly or daily AQI for each sector. PREVIOUS DATA: It is still possible to access data from preceding years and the number of available years has been increased to three. INFO-SMOG FORECAST: The air quality forecast is always available and is now updated twice daily. NOTE: These are images captured from the French-only RSQA Web site. 9 Comparison with Canada-Wide Standards The Canada-Wide Agreement on Environmental Harmonization, adopted in 99 by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), has identified objectives to be attained by. Less restrictive than the AQI, the Canada-wide standards related to ozone and PM.5 have already been adopted. The results, presented in the two tables below, are indicative of the
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