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Mobile air quality monitoring lab may be rolling into Salmon Arm

Ministry looking for place in community to set up
B.C.’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy wants to bring its Mobile Air Monitoring Laboratory to Salmon Arm. (Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy photo)

Salmon Arm may see an air monitoring lab set up in the spring.

At a recent meeting of the city’s Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC), a presentation was received from Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy meteorologist Gavin King, who was looking for a place to set up the ministry’s Mobile Air Monitoring Laboratory (MAML) in Salmon Arm.

“(He) spoke extensively about the air quality monitoring system that they use and their desire to bring it to Salmon Arm probably next spring,” commented Coun. Sylvia Lindgren, the chair of the EAC, during the Nov. 14 council meeting.

Lindgren said she wanted direction from council and staff as to whether the city would be supportive of working with King and the ministry. Mayor Alan Harrison suggested that she and engineering and public works director Rob Niewenhuizen discuss possible locations.

Coun. Tim Lavery called it a bit of a coup for Salmon Arm being to be able to get the air monitoring system in the city.

”They have been withdrawn from other communities and they haven’t been able to get them back,” said Lavery. “This is important in many ways, for a number of users.”

The B.C. environment ministry refers to the MAML as a “cost-effective way to monitor air quality in communities that do not have fixed air monitoring stations.”

It has been used to provide neighbourhood-specific air quality monitoring in larger communities and rural areas. The mobile lab provides continuous measurements of common air pollutants related to health effects, such as black carbon, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone and particulate matter, and is also able to monitor noncontinuous parameters such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAHs) and other air toxins.

A full suite of meteorological parameters — including wind speed, wind direction, temperature and humidity — are measured from the 10-metre, retractable hydraulic tower at the back of the van.

Real-time results from MAML’s air testing in B.C. communities are available as part of the latest air quality data shared at

Read more: Two citizen-owned air quality sensors in Salmon Arm help fill monitor gap

Read more: Wildfire smoke affecting Okanagan air quality

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Lachlan Labere

About the Author: Lachlan Labere

Editor, Salmon Arm Observer
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