Warning sounded at Curry's Lane air monitoring station

Cape Breton Post
Sat., May 16, 2009

Sydney - An air exceedance at a Curry's Lane fixed air monitoring station is being reported by The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency.

The data collected at a Whitney Pier station as part of the project's ambient air monitoring program confirmed an exceedance of Benzo(a)pyrene on May 1.

According to the STPA, Benzo(a)pyrene is an odourless, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) typically distributed during the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. It is present in automobile and diesel exhaust and can be produced by various activities such as backyard fires, coal burning and cigarette smoke.

Tanya Collier MacDonald, manager of communications for the STPA, said the substance is likely not the result of work on the Tar Ponds site. "Because of the way it is, we would doubt it, but we are still investigating to determine the exact source. It would have had been through burning of the fossil fuel. We weren't doing any of those kinds of activities, except for diesel trucks, which we have everywhere."

The project's fixed stations measure air quality for a 24-hour period, corresponding with the six-day National Air Pollution Surveillance schedule. Sample results are tested and results reported to the STPA within about two weeks. The sample in question showed a value of 3.41 nanograms per cubic metre (ng/m3) over a 24-hour period ending midnight, May 1. The 24-hour criterion for the project is 1.1 ng/m3.

The monitoring station was downwind of remediation activities underway on the coke ovens site. There are fixed air wind monitoring stations set up throughout the city.