Continuous monitors have limitations
Letter to the editor from Parker Donham
Cape Breton Post
Sat., July 10, 2004
Bruno Marcocchio suggests we
use a continuous air monitor to
measure air quality near the tar
ponds and coke ovens, and stream
the results to the Internet (Weekend
Feedback: Bring in Real Time Monitors, July 3).
Doing so would be
great public relations because a
continuous monitor would demonstrate
conclusively that air quality in Sydney
is quite good - better than in
Halifax, and much better than in
most Canadian cities.
Unfortunately, a continuous monitor
can measure only a single
chemical. We measure more than 80
chemicals at each of six locations.
Our monitoring stations can detect
amounts as small as one part per
trillion - at least 1,000 times more
precision than continuous monitors
are capable of.
That's why the air quality
experts who designed our system,
one of the most comprehensive in
Canada, chose to rely on lab analysis
of 24-hour air samples, supplemented
by real-time checks with
Sydney Tar Ponds Agency