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Reporting On Our Progress

This page summarizes recommendations made to improve air quality and reduce offensive odours in Fort McKay. The status and lead agency for each recommendation are indicated below.


Recommendation 3: Share oil sands operators’ emergency response plans (ERPs)—or relevant sections—with the community of Fort McKay through a regulatory mechanism.
Industry has provided the relevant information from ERPs to the Fort McKay community. Information was shared without the need of a regulatory mechanism.
Lead: AER

Recommendation 7: Provide all parties with access to real-time air monitoring data collected by Environment and Climate Change Canada in the Fort McKay community.
Air quality data from the Oski-ôtin research station are now on the Government of Canada open data portal. Data are available at weekly intervals, typically one week after the data have been collected. Since this information is publicly available, a data-sharing agreement was not required.
Lead: Environment and Climate Change Canada

Recommendation 8: Clarify who is accountable for supporting the complaint response and notification when ambient air monitoring identifies ground-level concentration exceedances, and ensure that this is captured in the odour response protocol described in recommendation 4.
The Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) has been confirmed as the agency responsible for reporting to stakeholders, the AER, and the Government of Alberta ground-level concentrations that exceed the Alberta Ambient Air Quality Objectives (AAAQO). WBEA has been responsible for reporting exceedances in the past, but this has now been formalized in the airshed operational contract with Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP).
Lead: AEP

Recommendation 17: Establish an air-quality task force to oversee implementation of the recommendations in the report.
The Fort McKay Air Quality and Odours Advisory Committee (AQOAC) was established in December 2016. The committee is chaired by the AER, Alberta Health, and the Fort McKay First Nation and Métis community, and includes representatives from AEP, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and industry.
Lead: AER

In Progress

Recommendation 1: Monitor ambient air quality for acute concentrations of H2S and SO2 for emergency response in the Fort McKay community. Monitoring should be done by AEP and be funded by industry, and acute thresholds for H2S and SO2 concentrations should be approved by Alberta Health in discussion with Fort McKay.
Alberta Health has finished its review of the focal parameters list (section 6.6.4 of the report) and will be meeting with stakeholders this spring to discuss whether and how more acute air-quality monitoring could be added to the Waskōw ohci Pimâtisiwin air monitoring station.
Lead: AEP

Recommendation 2: Provide policy guidance on the appropriateness of odour thresholds for emergency response purposes in the Fort McKay community.
In January, an Alberta Health contractor began a jurisdictional review of the use of odour thresholds during emergency response. The first draft of the report will be completed in April and will be shared with the Fort McKay AQOAC for review and feedback.
Lead: Government of Alberta

Recommendation 4: Develop an odour response protocol that is specific to the Fort McKay community and consistent with the odour management policy of the Government of Alberta.
A draft odour response protocol and checklist (recommendation 5) has been developed and continues to be tested through a pilot project. The protocol and checklist will help improve response to odour complaints, provide more transparency about the actions taken to address complaints, and identify the source of the odours. It will also create a process to ensure that findings from investigations into odour events are shared with industry and the complainant.  
Lead: AER

Recommendation 5: Develop a checklist of operating conditions that an operator is to complete when an odour complaint is received by the AER and the operator is contacted by the AER.
See recommendation 4.
Lead: AER

Recommendation 9: Assess fixed- and fugitive-emission sources, focusing on the parameters in the air quality focal parameter list (section 6.6.4 of the report) and on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, in order to develop a roadmap for a systematic process for examining the dominant emission sources of the parameters in the focal parameter list.
The subcommittee continues to review emission studies and existing monitoring results and measurements to better understand potential emission and odour sources. The subcommittee has identified key emission sources and related information gaps and is considering what studies need to be done to further examine dominant emission sources for parameters in the focal parameter lists.
Lead: Industry

Recommendation 13: Assess the health implications on the Fort McKay community based on the ambient monitoring results, specifically the parameters in the air quality and odorant focal parameter lists (section 6.6.4 of the report) that were in concentrations greater than standards, limits, objectives, and thresholds. The assessment must consider limitations in the data, how applicable the thresholds are to human health, and what it means to the community when parameters are exceeded.
Alberta Health, Fort McKay First Nation, and Fort McKay Métis met in February to outline how to address this recommendation. Next steps will involve developing a grant proposal and a work plan to be shared with the Fort McKay AQOAC in May.
Lead: Alberta Health

Recommendation 14: Establish an integrated, consistent approach to air quality monitoring from source (industry emissions) to fenceline (Mildred Lake – AMS02, Mannix – AMS05, Lower Camp – AMS11) to ambient monitoring stations (AMS01 and Oski-ôtin). Changes to monitoring should consider contaminants on the air quality focal parameter list (section 6.6.4 of the report). Consider polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in future monitoring plans.
The first subcommittee meeting was held on March 20 to discuss the workplan and steps for addressing recommendations 14 and 15.
Lead: AEP

Recommendation 15: Improve the consistency in monitoring H2S and total reduced sulphur, including examining individual sulphur compounds under the oil sands’ ambient air monitoring network.
See recommendation 14.
Lead: AEP

Recommendation 16: Develop and apply ambient air quality policy for parameters that do not have AAAQOs in the areas of odour, ecology, and human health.
A subcommittee led by AEP and Fort McKay has been established to address this recommendation.
Lead: Government of Alberta


The following recommendations are pending because work to implement them is dependent on the implementation of other recommendations.

Recommendation 6: Provide policy guidance on the use and application of odour thresholds in the Fort McKay community, and clarify how the AER uses environmental protection orders under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) to address offensive odours.
Lead: Government of Alberta

Recommendation 10: Conduct a targeted examination of emissions control based on the findings from recommendation 9, and implement the controls through a multiyear continuous improvement program.
Lead: AER

Recommendation 11: Consider odours generated by project activities when modelling air dispersion for EPEA applications and environmental impact assessments, and review the Air Quality Model Guideline to improve the consistency, among operators, of air dispersion modelling for odours.
Lead: Government of Alberta

Recommendation 12: Review reporting requirements for oil sands EPEA approvals in order to improve the consistency of monthly and annual reporting, units of measurements, and quality assurance and quality control; to include additional parameters with AAAQOs; and to consider transparency and public access to the industry reports.
Lead: AER


Status of Recommendations