Redefining Alberta air quality, the Air Monitoring Directive sets new standards

This Alberta Air Quality page provides a plain-language interpretation of the Alberta Air Monitoring Directive (AMD), a set of rules and guidelines for monitoring and reporting air quality in Alberta, Canada. The current official document is available in its legal language at this provincial webpage and AMD's purpose is to ensure:

Minimum Standards: The AMD outlines the minimum requirements for collecting and reporting air quality data.

Data Quality: It ensures the quality of air data and makes it comparable between monitoring sites.

Guidance: The AMD provides quality assurance and reporting requirements for operators of monitoring equipment, auditors, and regulators.

AMD specifies acceptable methods for air monitoring and reporting required by Alberta's Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA), Code of Practice registration, or other air monitoring activities. The CEMS Code, Stack Sampling Code, and Substance Release Regulation may also apply.

Air monitoring data helps assess environmental quality, identify trends, ensure compliance with guidelines and standards, support modeling, and inform policy decisions. The data must be consistent, high-quality, and reliable.

Throughout the AMD, mandatory requirements are italicized and legally binding. "Shall" and "must" imply strict requirements, while "should" and "may" imply recommendations.  This applies to text in the official documentation, rather than these brief summaries provided on StuffinTheAir.com

Those responsible for air monitoring, like facility owners, approval holders, airsheds, and others, are covered by the AMD. The AMD outlines monitoring, reporting, and maintenance requirements. Data collected and formatted according to AMD requirements will only be accepted by the regulator, which oversees environmental compliance.

Air Monitoring Directive components and amendments

The current AMD was released in 2016.  It replaced the previous one from 2006, which replaced the first AMD from 1989 by a series of amendments highlighted below and available in full detail in Chapter 1, Section 2.

There are several parts to the Air Monitoring Directive (AMD), including: AMD 1989 is the original version of the directive, titled "Air Monitoring Directive: Monitoring and Reporting Procedures for Industry" and was in place until it was amended in 2006.

Here is an overview of the chapters:

An introduction to AMD (Chapter 1): This chapter welcomes you to the AMD.

Chapter 2: This chapter has been known to cover the planning for Alberta's ambient air monitoring program.

The Site Selection Chapter (Chapter 3) explains how to select monitoring sites and what sampling systems you need.

Chapter 4 (Monitoring): Effective since July 2017, this chapter details monitoring requirements.

Chapter 5 is about the quality assurance system for monitoring data.

The Data Quality Chapter (Chapter 6) looks at the quality of ambient air monitoring data.

Calibration Chapter (Chapter 7): This chapter goes into detail about calibration.

Chapter 8 (Audits): It's about auditing ambient air monitoring.

The Reporting Chapter (Chapter 9, first six sections) outlines the reporting requirements which started January 2019.  The next five sections outline industrial air emissions reporting, especially in section 7 where the Alberta Emissions Inventory Reporting is outlined in greater detail.

That concludes Part 1 (industry reporting).  Part 2 provides details of reporting requirements for Alberta airsheds which cover regions of Alberta with a higher density of industry and may monitor and report on behalf of industry, which is easier for everyone.

All of these components are important to the Alberta air quality monitoring and reporting procedures, ensuring that data collected is reliable. Refer to the AMD chapters for more details.

There are periodic updates to the Air Monitoring Directive. This is the current AMD Introduction. Each chapter has a release date and effective date, plus an amendments section. AMD's website has updates, and stakeholders can give feedback.

Key historical updates listed in the Introduction: 

Removed AMD 1989 reference from title page.

Added new terms and moved definitions to Appendix A.

Section 1.0 has references to AMD 1989 and AMD 2006.

I updated the list of AMD components in Section 2.0, including their effective dates.

Section 2.1 has a few wording changes.

The AMD Introduction has been updated with Section 2.1.1 listing amendments.

Section 2.2 lists amendments to 1989 AMD and 2006 AMD.

Appendix A has been updated with a definition of "required operating range".

I've added Appendix B, a correlation table showing which sections of the 2016 AMD replace those in the 1989 AMD and 2006 AMD.

Note:  Check Section 2 of Chapter 1 for the details.

History of AMD amendments to improve Alberta air quality

Several other amendments have been made to the Air Monitoring Directive (AMD) as officially described in Section 2. Various sections have been updated and replaced:

Updated charts and graphsAlberta documentation requirements updated

Updates to AMD 2006 (made in 2016):

Guidance for Use was replaced by AMD Introduction in February 2014.

The Purpose section was also replaced by AMD 2014's (which became AMD 2016) Introduction.

The About, Shall, Must, Should, and May section was replaced by AMD Introduction in February 2014.

Overview was replaced by AMD Introduction in February 2014.

Data Confidentiality section was replaced by AMD 2014's Introduction.

Review Process was replaced by AMD 2014's Introduction.

Amendments to the Air Monitoring Directive, 1989, section was replaced by AMD 2014's AMD Introduction.

The Application section was replaced by AMD 2014's Introduction.

Previously, AMD 1989 was replaced with:

Site Selection Chapter replaced II A, II C 1b, Appendix A-1, Appendix A-2, and Appendix A-10 sections 1.3, 1.4, and 2.2.

In July 2017, AMD 1989's Section II C 5 Other Monitoring was replaced by the Monitoring Chapter.

AMD 1989's Section II B Instrument Selection was replaced in July 2017 by the Monitoring Chapter.

The Monitoring Chapter replaced AMD 1989's Section II C 1 a) General, bullet v).

The Monitoring Chapter replaced Appendix A-10 Section 1.1 Methods for Measuring Ambient Air Pollutants of AMD 1989.

In July 2017, AMD 1989's Appendix A-10 Section 1.2 Acceptable Performance Specifications for Monitors was replaced by the Monitoring Chapter.

In July 2017, AMD 1989's Appendix A-10 Section 2.1 Instrument Selection was replaced by the Monitoring Chapter.

In September 2015, AMD 1989's Section II C 2 a) Exposure Stations was replaced by the Calibration Chapter.

The Calibration Chapter replaced Section II C 2 b), bullets ii) and iii) of AMD 1989 in September 2015.

AMD 1989's Appendix A-8 Sections 7.0 and 8.0 were replaced by the Calibration Chapter in September 2015.

The Calibration Chapter replaced AMD 1989 Appendix A-10 Sections 1.5, 1.6, 1.7, 2.3, and 2.4.

The Calibration Chapter replaced AMD 2006 clauses 2.9.34, 2.9.37, 2.9.38, 2.9.40, 2.9.41, 2.9.42, 2.9.43, 2.9.45, 2.9.46, and 2.9.47.

AMD 1989's Section II C 1 e), bullet ii) was replaced by the Audit Chapter in September 2015.

In September 2015, AMD 1989's Section II C 1 n) was replaced by the Audit Chapter.

In September 2015, AMD 1989's Appendix A-10 Section 1.8 was replaced by the Audit Chapter.

In January 2019, AMD 1989's Section II C 1) a) General, bullet vi) was replaced by the Reporting Chapter.

A new Reporting Chapter replaced AMD 1989's Section II C 1) d) Data Validation and Data Reporting, bullets ii) through v).

In January 2019, AMD 1989's Section II E 2) and Section II E 3) were replaced by the Reporting Chapter.

AMD 1989's Section III was replaced in January 2019 by the Reporting Chapter.

In January 2019, AMD 1989's Appendices B-1, B-2, B-3, and B-4 were replaced by the Reporting Chapter.

In January 2019, AMD 2006's Section 3.0 was replaced by the Reporting Chapter.

With these and future amendments, the AMD stays up to date and aligned with current practices.

General air quality requirements

The Air Monitoring Directive (AMD) outlines these general requirements:

Dispute Resolution: If there's a conflict between submitted documents or data and AMD's terms and conditions, AMD takes precedent.

AMD rules apply if guidance documents contradict AMD rules.

The AMD doesn't affect rights or obligations granted under an approval.

The responsible person must provide the Director with documents, records, and data related to air monitoring, reporting, or maintenance.

Mentioning specific products or technologies in AMD doesn't mean they're endorsed or recommended.

AMD terms and conditions are severable, so if one part is invalid, it doesn't affect the rest.

If the responsible person transfers monitoring, reporting, or facility ownership, they have to hand over all records and data.

Closure of business: If the business closes, the director should be notified right away.

Alberta's air monitoring and reporting standards are designed to be clear, fair, and compliant.

Calvin Consulting creates Quality Assurance Plans (QAPs) for Alberta Environment's Air Monitoring Directive (AMD).  We also assess the air quality in the area when needed so clients can pick the right spots for monitoring.  Calvin Consulting uses your information to develop AMD QAP, following Alberta AMD guidelines.  And then we provide a document that suits your operations and needs.  Please contact Barry in the Calgary office for more guidance...

Barry Email Alberta Calvin Consulting

You'll be glad you did.  In essence, my team can help you meet regulatory requirements and make sure the process is accurate and legal.

Confidentiality and privacy

The Regulator follows Alberta's privacy laws when it collects air data. You can ask the Director for confidentiality if something is a trade secret. However, this can't delay submitting the data. You still have to follow all the rules. Transparency and sharing air data are good.

Send feedback or questions about the AMD to AMDFeedback@gov.ab.ca or mail to Air Policy Branch, Alberta Environment and Parks, Edmonton, Alberta. Find out more at alberta.ca.

Appendices

Chapter 1 of the AMD concludes with two appendices. The first is a list of over 200 definitions and it would be best to check the original document for any that you need.

Appendix B contains a large table that should also be examined in the original, but can be summarized as follows:

This table shows how Alberta's Air Monitoring Directive (AMD) has changed over time. Here's how it works:

How does the Air Monitoring Directive (AMD) work?  It provides a set of rules and guidelines for monitoring Alberta air quality.

What's the point of this lengthy table?  It shows how the AMD has evolved over time by showing what sections were added, removed, or updated.

Columns in the table:
1 - AMD 1989: Elements from the original directive.
2 - There were amendments to the 1989 AMD made in 2006 and which sections were changed.
3 - The 2016 AMD replaces or updates sections from the 1989 AMD or its 2006 amendments.

The dates when the 2016 AMD rules went into effect are listed in Column 3 and the 1989 AMD and its 2006 amendments were in effect before that.

The section titles in the first column describe the specific areas covered in the directive, like monitoring, reporting, and quality control.

How Can You Learn From This Table?

Here's how the AMD has changed over time, which helps you understand the Alberta air quality regulations in their current form.

To follow the current rules, you'd refer to the 2016 AMD since it's the one now in effect.

Note, though that earlier AMD versions (the 1989 one and its 2006 amendments) still applied until 2016.

This table is like a historical roadmap of how the provincial government has managed and monitored Alberta air quality over the years, and it helps keep rules current and effective in protecting the environment.

More updates and refinements can be expected in the future.

New! Comments

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In Alberta, the Air Monitoring Directive replaces previous directives and incorporates changes to monitoring and reporting.

Monitoring, data collection, and reporting requirements are in the directive.  In addition, it outlines the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders.



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Thank you to my research and writing assistants, ChatGPT and WordTune, as well as Wombo and others for the images.

GPT-4, OpenAI's large-scale language generation model, helped generate this text.  As soon as draft language is generated, the author reviews, edits, and revises it to their own liking and is responsible for the content.