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Introduction

Photo of Hamilton Harbour looking south For many years the provincial Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) 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 MOECC’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. Celebrating 12 Years in Business

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 MOECC-industry abatement programs.

Companies participating in the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’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.

Photo of inside of one of Hamilton's Air Monitoring Station 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 and Climate Change 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 MOECC will review the air quality information to assist them with abatement programs and complaint investigations.

Sampling Methodology

The network data is used to provide HAMN members and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change with high quality air quality information. The continuous monitoring sites in the network include instruments that measure ambient levels of gaseous and particulate air pollutants, and in some cases, meteorological parameters. Please refer to the Pollutant Descriptions page for sampling methodology. The data signals from these analyzers and sensors must be averaged, digitized and processed according to detailed MOECC guidelines for collecting air quality monitoring data. Figure 2 illustrates the real-time movement of data to both industry members and Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change.

Figure 2 - Telemetry system overview Figure 2 - HAMN Telemetry System Overview

Data that is received by the HAMN-operated servers is utilized for troubleshooting and rectifying network anomalies, generating reports, implementing QA/QC protocols and notifying MOECC and industry personnel of AAQC exceedances and/or unusual air quality events.

Ministry of the Environment's Role in HAMN

HAMN is to provide the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change with real-time access to all continuous air monitoring data and provide quarterly data summary reports of all continuous and non-continuous data. Also, HAMN will provide immediate notification of all exceedances of the AAQC (Ambient Air Quality Criteria’s) and Regulation 419) (WEB LINK TO MOECC STANDARDS). The MOECC will continue to have real-time data access to the air quality information to assist them with abatement programs and complaint investigations.

The MOECC will carry out the required QA/QC role in ensuring quality of data. The QA/QC program is made-up of two parts:

1) Auditing field samplers to ensure sampling equipment is being maintained and operated as per MOECC Operation Manual for Point Source Air Quality Monitoring, 2008.
In 2015 there were a total of 88 individual Provincial audits of continuous and non-continuous air monitoring equipment operated and maintained by Rotek Environmental Inc. Of the 88 audits, 87 were certified by the MOECC as being acceptable, a 98.9% audit success rate. See Figure #3 below.

Figure 3 - HAMN 2015 Provincial Audit Record Figure 3 - HAMN 2015 Provincial Audit Record

2) Auditing contract laboratories to ensure analysis is carried out according to MOECC Standard Operating Procedures.

As well, the Ministry will review data reports and carry out data analysis to assess air quality trends. Data submitted to the Ministry is public data and can be made available to interested parties upon request.

HAMN Performance

Since 2003, HAMN continues to maintain a very high level of percent valid data collected. HAMN continues to exceed the MOECC objective of 90%, averaging greater than 97% for the past 13 years. See Figure #4 below.

Figure 4 - HAMN Percent Valid Data Figure 4 - HAMN Percent Valid Data

HAMN collects approximately 225,000 real-time hourly data points along with 13,000,000 minute data points yearly.

HAMN Network Funding

Since 2003, HAMN members have contributed approximately $6.3 million in support of the Hamilton Air Monitoring Network. See Figure #5 below. Since 2003, HAMN has invested $570,000 to improve the network by replacing aging equipment and enhancing the air particulate monitoring program. In 2007, HAMN approved a $70,000 capital investment for a real-time telemetry and data acquisition system and a web-based data access system. Also for 2016 HAMN invested an additional $15,000 to improve and streamline the web-based data access system.

Figure 5 - HAMN Capital Investment Figure 5 - HAMN Capital Investment

This system will provide HAMN members with real-time, web-based data access for all current and historical data. Funding has also been provided to develop a HAMN website with public access to the Hamilton Air Monitoring Network.

The chart below (Figure #6) illustrates the cost break down to operate the HAMN network. Over the 11 years of operation, HAMN has invested in more real-time air particulate monitoring equipment and reduced the dependency on expensive laboratory analysis for air particulate determinations. Laboratory costs in 2003 were 35% ($140,000) of our annual budget. In 2013, we successfully reduced these costs to 20% ($82,000) of the operating budget. Moreover, real-time measurement provides continuous monitoring while lab-based analysers only afford a 24-hour average every sixth day. The cost break down has not change over the last 3 years (2013 thru to 2016).

Figure 6 - HAMN Cost Distribution 2013 Figure 6 - HAMN Cost Distribution 2013

Approximately $50,000 a year is used in our Capital Reserve Fund for instrument replacements and enhancements to the network.