Air Quality

The Commission monitors ambient air quality in proximity to oil and gas operations to ensure protection of public safety and conservation of the environment.

Through administration of the Oil and Gas Activities Act (OGAA), Drilling and Production Regulation, Environmental Management Act, and Oil and Gas Waste Regulation, the Commission authorizes, regulates and limits air discharges to the environment from oil and gas activities.

Announced in 2012, the Commission participated in the Northeast B.C. Air Quality Monitoring Project (NE Project), a partnership between the province, the oil and gas industry, and communities in the Peace Region of B.C. The goal was to capture air quality data to make best-informed decisions regarding public health, pollution management and the protection of sensitive ecosystems in areas potentially impacted by oil and gas development. 

Using a science-based approach, participants identified where three new air quality monitoring stations should be added to the existing network of 13 stations. Air contaminants commonly associated with oil and gas development were measured between December 2013 and June 2017. The captured data was independently analyzed and air pollutants were found to be generally very low, with the exception of locations in close proximity to some oil and gas facilities. An Analysis of Results is available online.

The NE Project has shifted from having a full complement of three portable monitoring stations, to leaving one in operation - currently located in Farmington. Through funding provided by the BC Oil and Gas Research Innovation Society (BC OGRIS) and in-kind contributions from the Commission, this station will remain in operation. Live data for all B.C. air monitoring stations (including Farmington) can be accessed at https://envistaweb.env.gov.bc.ca/

Commission Mobile Monitoring

The Commission undertakes its own air monitoring, using mobile equipment deployed to communities where there is no fixed station or where additional data capture is required: 
 
  • The Commission Air Monitoring Environmental Laboratory (CAMEL) is a trailer-based unit typically deployed for a period of months to a year or more, to monitor community air quality where there are no fixed stations. Summary information on the results of its ambient air monitoring are available within the Commission Air Tool (CAT)
  • The Roaming Air Monitor (RAM) is a van-based unit - instantly deployable to monitor air quality in response to community concerns or situations where oil and gas activities could impact air quality.
  • AreaRAE monitors - the Commission has two small suitcase sized monitors capable of detecting toxic and combustible gases, volatile organic compounds, and wind speed and direction. 

The Commission continues to work with government, industry and community to address air quality issues related to the oil and gas industry within British Columbia. Protecting public safety, conserving the environment, increasing research and improving our knowledge around air quality is integral to our role as the industry regulator. 

Additional Commission information related to air quality in northeast B.C. is available here: 

Commission air quality monitoring inquiries may be directed to air.monitoring@bcogc.ca

The Provincial Government additionally provides current Air Monitoring Data for Northeastern B.C.B.C. Greenhouse Gas Inventory and B.C. Emissions Inventory updates.