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Air Quality Monitoring

Provincial Ambient Air Monitoring Network

This network of air quality monitoring stations across the province is linked into a national program for air monitoring across Canada called the National Air Pollution Surveillance (NAPS) network.

Real-time and historical data from the provincial ambient air monitoring network may be accessed from our Air Quality Map. For information on local current air quality health index conditions, forecasts, health risks and other information regarding air pollution, please go to Environment and Climate Change Canada's Air Quality Health Index page. Important information regarding wildfire smoke including alerts, predictions, locations and mapping can be obtained from the Wildfire Smoke and Air Quality page.

Mobile Air Quality Station

air quality unit

What is the Mobile Air Quality Station?

The Mobile Air Quality Station (MAQS) is a trailer designed to test air quality in any location with power and road access. Using MAQS, the Ministry of Environment can continuously and simultaneously monitor ambient air quality for a variety of pollutants, such as:

  • nitrogen oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX)
  • ozone (O3)
  • sulphur dioxide (SO2)
  • hydrogen sulphide (H2S)
  • carbon monoxide (CO)
  • particulate matter (PM2.5) and (PM10) – e.g. smoke
  • methane and non-methane hydrocarbons
  • benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX)
  • volatile organic compounds (VOC)

Since it's portable, MAQS can supplement data collected at provincial monitoring network sites by:

  • monitoring at a broader range of locations;
  • locating better sites for permanent air quality monitoring stations;
  • monitoring at locations where air quality may be a concern; and
  • providing monitoring support to provincial air zone associations.

The ministry also has another smaller, mobile air monitoring station – the Rapid Deployment Air Monitoring Station (RAQS). It's used for short-term monitoring and emergency response.

How does MAQS work?

Air drawn into the trailer connects to a glass manifold. Each analyzer draws a sample from the manifold to analyze its specific parameter(s). Sampling is continuous, so data is always being collected. MAQS can also check for pollutants that are not part of its continuous monitoring, by collecting samples that are sent to a laboratory for analysis.

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