For many years the provincial Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and federal Environment Canada (EC) carried out ambient and point source air quality monitoring in the Hamilton area. As of May 1st, 2003, the point source air quality monitoring network in the City of Hamilton has been operated, serviced and maintained by the Hamilton Air Monitoring Network (HAMN).
HAMN represents participating industries that are committed to carrying out air quality monitoring as part of the MECP’s Source Emissions Monitoring program (SEM). The HAMN website provides current Hamilton air quality reporting through real-time data reporting.
The Hamilton industrial area is home to various industrial sectors ranging from iron and steel companies, chemical producers, manufacturers and several recycling facilities. With the close proximity of these facilities to each other and the complexity of meteorological conditions in Hamilton, assessing the sources of industrial emissions has always been a challenge.
HAMN carries out the required air monitoring to meet the needs of each HAMN participating member. HAMN provides real-time meteorological information for assessing air quality data and investigating air complaints. Data is collected to support specific MECP-industry abatement programs.
Companies participating in the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks’s Source Emissions Monitoring program are required to submit an annual summary report of their air quality monitoring results obtained in the previous calendar year. These annual reports contain an overview of the HAMN network, historical trends for major air pollutants, a summary of any special study carried out during the monitoring year.
HAMN’s industrial air quality monitoring program has been responsible for collecting and reporting accurate real-time continuous measurements of ambient pollutants at various sites located around the Hamilton industrial area. These pollutants include sulphur dioxide (SO2), total reduced sulphur (TRS), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitric oxides (NO), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and inhalable particulate matter (PM10). Information on the pollutants measured can be found here. As well, there are non-continuous air-monitoring samplers in the HAMN network that collect data on a rotating schedule. These samplers monitor such pollutants as total suspended particulates (TSP), volatile organic compounds (VOC's), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and metals.
The data generated are used to monitor air quality in and around the industrial area, determine which areas meet and/or exceed Ontario Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC) and develop pollution trends. The HAMN program encompasses operation of the sampling and monitoring network, laboratory analyses of air samples, and quality assurance activities to ensure the high standards in data quality are maintained.
HAMN provides the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks with real-time access to continuous air monitoring data and submits quarterly and annual data summary reports of all continuous and non-continuous air monitoring data. Also, HAMN is required to provide immediate notification of all exceedances of the AAQC (Ambient Air Quality Criteria and Regulation 419) to the Ministry of Environment. The MECP will review the air quality information to assist them with abatement programs and complaint investigations.