May 27, 2002

New Brunswick issues fourth summary of air quality statistics

New Brunswick reported an average compliance rate of 100% for regulated air emissions at most of its 58 monitoring sites during 2000, Environment and Local Government Minister Kim Jardine reported recently. "A few sites registered compliance rates of less than 95%, but for the most part, the number of exceedances was low," she said.

New Brunswick Air Quality Monitoring Results is the province's fourth annual air quality report. Annual reports to the Legislative Assembly on air quality were made a legal requirement only recently as part of the full implementation of the Clean Air Act. "Although the act has not required us to publish these reports in previous years, we have been doing so anyway in the public interest," Jardine noted.

The latest statistics portray a continuing general improvement in long-term trends for air quality throughout New Brunswick. This year's report includes, for the first time, the summarized results of a monitoring program for the chemistry of particulate matter in East Saint John. This program has been in place since 1992; data for 2000 reveal a downward trend in the levels of most metals in particulate matter. Also new to the report for 2000 are data on various contaminants at several other new sites.

During 2000, New Brunswick's air quality monitoring program measured carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and total suspended particulates (TSP) at 58 sites in eight regional networks.

Acid rain was measured at 13 additional stations. Inhalable particulate matter, ground-level ozone, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), selected semi-volatile organic compounds, trace elements in particulate matter and mercury in air and precipitation were also monitored at some locations.

Some sites registered exceedances of standards for sulfur dioxide, total reduced sulfur (TRS), hydrogen sulfide, ozone and particulate matter. Exceedances of total suspended particulate matter were down in 2000 compared with 1999. No exceedances for nitrogen dioxide or carbon monoxide were recorded in 2000, as per the previous three years, and exceedances for ozone were notably low.

The most significant problem remained that of TRS at the UPM-Kymmene (formerly Repap) facility in Miramichi in 2000. Preliminary results for 2001 show significant improvements after various engineering changes at the plant.

Results for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) showed similar results to 1999. A new site in East Saint John at Champlain Heights School, begun in July 2000, revealed higher VOC levels than at Forest Hills. Results for dioxins and furans at St. Andrews showed levels at that site to be among the lowest in Canada.

Acid deposition was up slightly in 2000 compared with 1999, but deposition values were still similar to those recorded in recent years, representing an overall decrease since 1990.

A summary of the New Brunswick Air Quality Monitoring Results report is available on the department Web site, www.gnb.ca/0009/0355/0006/index-e.html.

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