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Palliser Airshed Society

The CASA board agreed, by consensus, to a new fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone management framework for Alberta. (Adobe‘ PDF2.2 MB) 

The framework, developed by CASA's particulate matter and ozone project team will help Alberta meet its commitment under the Canada-wide standards for particulate matter and ozone (CWS) that was signed in June 2000 by Canadian environment ministers, except for the minister from Quebec.

Most areas of Alberta are below the numeric CWS. The standards apply only to urban areas with populations over 100,000, however the CASA framework goes further and applies to the entire province.

Canada-wide standards for PM and ozone numeric standards to be achieved by 2010:

PM2.5 to 10 30Ķg/m3 over 24 hours, based on the 98th percentile ambient measurement annually, averaged over three years.

Ozone 65 parts per billion over eight hours, based on the fourth highest measurement annually, averaged over three years.

A unique component of the framework is the application of the keeping clean areas clean and continuous improvement (KCAC) concept. KCAC is a new direction in environmental management that will result in better protection of health and the environment. KCAC was introduced as part of the CWS. It moves the traditional scope of management beyond compliance with a numeric standard and puts more emphasis than ever before on managing and improving air quality below a numeric standard.

KCAC has been incorporated into the CASA framework by adopting a tiered management framework for ambient levels below the CWS. This framework recognizes and builds upon existing programs and policies, applying a philosophy of prevention and continuous air quality improvement to fill in gaps wherever necessary. There are three ambient levels that trigger different management actions to keep the levels below the CWS: baseline, surveillance, and management.

Two diagrams (Adobe‘ PDF2.5 MB) are available for you to visualize the overall framework with the recommended numeric trigger levels (ambient concentration levels) and the the annual analysis process.

For example, if ambient levels are close to the CWS numeric standard, more aggressive management actions will be triggered, including the development of a management plan by stakeholders. On the other hand, if areas are closer to background ambient levels, the impetus for management activities will be much less and focused more on air quality monitoring and voluntary or incentive-based actions. An annual analysis of PM and ozone levels in areas of the province will be undertaken.

A regulatory backstop exists at all levels of the framework, and existing policies like Alberta Environments Industrial Release Limits Policy will continue to apply at all levels of the framework.

The framework creates stability between environmental, economic, social and health considerations, sets out clear ground rules and reasonable costs, provides flexibility to address local circumstances, and allows equal opportunities for Albertans, industry, government, environmental and health groups to participate in its implementation.

The PM and ozone project team took about three years to develop the framework and had representatives from eight industry sectors, four Alberta government departments, Environment Canada, municipal governments, airshed zones, and key environmental and health organizations.

Alberta Environment expects to begin implementation of the framework in 2004.



Palliser Airshed Society