Air quality in the region has been measured by the BC Ministry of Environment since the late 1970s, and is presently monitored continuously in Squamish, Whistler and Langdale. You can see the air quality measurements made by the Ministry of Environment at all the stations  here.

Good air quality is a result of community and government activities broadly grouped into:

  • Planning
  • Monitoring and Testing
  • Educating
  • Regulating

Two kinds of monitoring stations are set up in the airshed:

  • Continuous stations — these stations constantly monitor air quality by drawing air in through a tube and automatically transmitting the data (via telephone or cellular networks) to a central Ministry of Environment database.
  • Noncontinuous stations — these stations collect air pollutants on filters (or in canisters in the case of volatile organic compounds). The filters or canisters are collected by technicians in the field after a discrete period of time (e.g. 24 hours) and sent to a certified laboratory for chemical and/or gravimetric (weight) analysis.

 Source: BC Ministry of Environment

In the Howe Sound Airshed, monitoring is performed as follows:

Location Pollutants Monitored
Langdale Elementary(HSPP) Total Reduced Sulphur (TRS), NO/NO2/NOx, SO2, PM10 & PM2.5
Squamish Downtown(MoE) TRS, NO/NO2/NOx, SO2, O3, PM2.5 (continuous), PM2.5 (non-continuous)
Whistler – Meadow Park (MoE) NO/NO2/NOx, SO2, O3, PM2.5 (continuous), PM2.5 (non-continuous)
Horseshoe Bay(MV) PM2.5 (continuous)
Pemberton – Signal Hill  (MoE) PM10 & PM2.5 (non-continuous)
Lions BayEC & MoE) Two visibility cameras 

Data from the non-continuous monitoring stations in Gibsons and Pemberton are available on request from the B.C. Ministry of Environment Lower Mainland Region office.

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New Federal Equivalent Method (FEM) Air Quality Monitors are being installed throughout province. The transition to the new equipment in Whistler and Squamish will take effect Jan. 2, 2014. For more information on how this will impact PM 2.5 readings, please visit: News