“People [in the region] are concerned about air quality and we decided to take a proactive approach to monitoring the air quality that affects everyone,” Director of PESTS Brian Derfler said in a written statement. “Only five per cent of [projected] oil and gas development has already occurred, and 10s of 100s of oil and gas sites are already here.”

Defler also alludes to the possibility of new air quality monitors making their way into the North Peace as well.

Defler adds, “We are also expanding the network and plan to move the existing units to areas of interest or concern in coming weeks.”

Commonly known as ‘Elms’, the air monitoring units measure ozone, nitrogen dioxide, total particulates, total organic compound – such as methane and benzene – as well as noise, temperature and relative humidity.

The monitoring devices then transmit the measurements in near real-time every 20 seconds to a publicly accessible website.

“We need to embrace actual [ambient air quality] measurements to analyze the frequency, duration and extend of continuous or event-based emission sources,” Derfler goes on to write. “We believe that the recording and collection of these data can influence future practices and polices to protect the environment, climate and human health at a local to global scale.”

The ambient air quality monitors were purchased in a joint effort between PESTS, the Peace River Grain Producers’ Association, the Peace River Soil Conservation Association, and an individual member.

PESTS are a not-for-profit group of concerned citizens that advocate for responsible gas development with the least possible negative impact on human health and the environment.

PESTS say they’re always looking for new members, and more information about the society can be found here.