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Alberta's Ambient Air Quality Objectives are intended to provide protection of the environment and human health to an extent technically and economically feasible, as well as socially and politically acceptable. The following document summarizes these objectives.
Use of Objectives
The objectives are used to:
- Assess compliance near major industrial air emission sources
- Establish approval conditions for regulated industrial facilities
- Evaluate proposals for constructing facilities
- Guide special ambient air quality surveys
- Inform Albertans on air quality through an air quality index
- Report on the state of Alberta's atmospheric environment
Alberta Environment and Parks ensures that emissions from human activities will be minimized and that air quality continues to be better than the Ambient Air Quality Objectives.
Factors Objectives are based on
These objectives are based on scientific, social, technical and economic factors that include:
Can the substance be routinely monitored in the atmosphere?
- Natural levels and fluctuations
Do substances fluctuate as they enter the atmosphere from natural but uncontrollable sources (for example, forest fires)?
- Sensitive receptors
Is one component of the environment or one stage in an organism's development more sensitive than another?
- Substance behaviour in the atmosphere
What reactions do a substance undergo and how long is the substance in the air?
- Substance behaviour in the environment
Can the substance bioaccumulate or biodegrade after entering the environment?
- Technological availability
What is the cost and availability of technology to control or avoid emissions?
The department has been reviewing ambient air quality objectives by multi-stakeholder consultation since 2000. Alberta now has air quality objectives for more than 30 substances that could be released to the atmosphere.
Proposed Ambient Air Quality Objectives
The following documents have been posted for stakeholder comment until November 22, 2021:
- Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives and Guidelines – Nitrogen Dioxide – Draft (PDF, 75 KB)
- Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives and Guidelines – Sulphur Dioxide – Draft (PDF, 75 KB)
Comments, questions, or suggestions regarding the content of these ambient air quality objectives can be sent to:
Ambient Air Quality Objectives Mailing List
The department has an automatic emailing system that will distribute information on ambient air quality objectives to those who subscribe to the list. Subscription to this list is open to all department staff, industry, NGOs and consultants, as well as members of the general public.
Please check that your email address is correct before you subscribe. If you do not receive a confirmation email after you have subscribed your subscription was not successful.
The personal information collected through the Ambient Air Quality Objectives webpage may be used for the purpose of providing you with an Ambient Air Quality Objectives Mailing List subscription to receive provincial air quality policy and modelling updates.
This personal information collection is authorized under Section 8 (1) (2) of the Government Organization Act, and is being managed in accordance with Section 33 (c) of the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Industrial air management
The following document is a guideline for the implementation of Ambient Air Quality Objectives (AAQO) and their use in air dispersion modelling and ambient air monitoring.
- Using Ambient Air Quality Objectives in Industrial Dispersion Modelling and Individual Industrial Site Monitoring
Ambient Air Quality Objectives and supporting documents
The AAQO documents provide a short description of the substance, the effects and the objective levels. The supporting documents are detailed reports providing scientific and technical information on the substances.
- Assessment Report on Ammonia - Volume I
- Assessment Report on Ammonia - Volume II: Vegetation Effects
Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5)
- Assessment Report on Naphthalene - 2013 Update
- Review of Approaches for Setting an Objective for Mixtures in Ambient Air Using PAHs - 2004
Questions or feedback on the ambient air quality objectives can be submitted to:
Email: [email protected]
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