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.
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
The Alberta government 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 including:
- Monitoring – 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.
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.
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Industrial air management
The following document provides guidance for the implementation of Ambient Air Quality Objectives 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
This document is currently under revision and an updated version will be posted after revisions are complete.
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
Connect with us if you have questions or feedback on the ambient air quality objectives:
Email: [email protected]