2016 had the lowest annual average for lead and arsenic in community air ever recorded

Council briefs; Trail air quality best ever

2016 had the lowest annual average for lead and arsenic in community air ever recorded, according to THEC report.

Much of Trail council’s attention was directed toward annual housekeeping duties this week, like bylaw adoption and budget requests. But there was one report that did stand out it was from the mayor, and about dust.

For the last three months of 2016, lead in the air was very low. Arsenic in ambient air was also very low.

In fact, 2016 had the lowest annual average for lead and arsenic in community air ever recorded, according to THEC’s (Trail Area Health and Environment Committee) recent air quality report from Teck Trail Operations.

The 2016 annual average for lead in ambient air was 0.26 µg/m³ (micrograms per cubic metre) compared to 0.31 µg/m³ in 2015 and 0.326 µg/m³ the year previous.

Mike Martin, city mayor and committee chair, cautioned that it’s too early to solely credit the newly commissioned recycle building, a key component in Teck’s Fugitive Dust Reduction Program, to the low readings from the Butler Park and Birchbank monitoring stations. But the news is promising that the facility, which is larger than a football field and houses in-process materials, is likely doing its job.

“Some remarkable results have been achieved,” Martin said during Tuesday night’s council meeting. “(Which can) well be attributed to the installation and startup of the Smelter Recycle Building,” he added. “But Teck is not hanging their hat on this yet, there were some weather abnormalities that may have impacted the results, but right now we are seeing the best ever performance by way of emissions from the smelter.”

Quarterly averages for lead in ambient air are expected to have some variability due to season, weather, predominant wind direction and operational variance, states the Teck report. The average for the fourth quarter of 2016 at Butler Park (0.09 μg/m3) was very low and could be due to a combination of the record rainfall in October, the commissioning of the Smelter Recycle Building, a maintenance shutdown, or other factors.

The company reports the annual average for arsenic in air continues to improve; the average for 2016 achieved the 2018 objective, and was the lowest ever annual average for arsenic in community air using the current monitoring locations.

The 2016 annual average was 0.0078 μg/m³, compared to 0.011 µg/m³ in 2015 and 0.0111 μg/m³ in 2014 the year previous. The current measurement is lower than the 2018 target of 0.01 μg/m³, and the lowest ever annual average for arsenic in community air the average for the fourth quarter of 2016 at Butler Park (0.005 μg/m3) was low and could be due to the same combination of factors as listed for lead.

In other council news:

Charity contract

Council awarded the administration contract for the 2017 Trail Market on the Esplanade to the United Way Trail & District for 60 per cent of net revenue generated. The dates are expected to remain every second Friday with night editions.

Coastal charge

The city extended its user fee agreement with Pacific Coastal Airlines for a one-year term, after council agreed to increase passengers’ fees by $1. Upon taking ownership of the Trail Regional Airport in 2014, the city entered into a separate agreement (bylaw) with the airline to operate scheduled, charter and cargo flights into and out of the airport in exchange for a per passenger fee. The contract expired on Tuesday, however, council endorsed extending the term until February 2018, allowing time for the city and airline to settle into the new terminal building. The passenger fee has remained $12 since 2014, the new fee is now $13 per passenger.

Chamber commerce

The governance committee tabled the Trail and District Chamber of Commerce’s request for a three per cent increase ($2,040), to $70,400 in operating funds for the Visitor Information Centre and $5,900 to improve advertising. For at least five years the chamber has received a $68,000 cash grant from city council to operate the site on Tuesday the panel requested more information on the dispersal of funds before making a budgetary increase.

Community centre cash

Council agreed to a $20,000 cash grant for the Columbia Youth Community Development Centre. Cindy Cropley and Coleman Webb first addressed the panel about current activities, which include a youth wood shop in partnership with Career Development Services.

Coastal charge

The city extended its user fee agreement with Pacific Coastal Airlines for a one-year term, after council agreed to increase passengers’ fees by $1. Upon taking ownership of the Trail Regional Airport in 2014, the city entered into a separate agreement (bylaw) with the airline to operate scheduled, charter and cargo flights into and out of the airport in exchange for a per passenger fee. The contract expired on Tuesday, however, council endorsed extending the term until February 2018, allowing time for the city and airline to settle into the new terminal building. The passenger fee has remained $12 since 2014, the new fee is now $13 per passenger.

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