Dust Issues Persist
Prince George, B.C. – There has been little relief in the levels of coarse particulates in the air in downtown Prince George.
The hourly reading at Plaza 400 for PM 10 this afternoon was near 40 micrograms per cubic metre, while the 24 hour rolling average was at 70. The Provincial target is 50 micrograms per cubic metres.
And while there is a dust advisory in effect, there have been instances where sweeping of parking lots has taken place without the proper dust mitigation measures.
Under the City’s Clean Air Bylaw,:
- No person shall sweep or maintain any highway or off street parking, loading and storage areas except with the use of equipment using fugitive dust control procedures, or dust suppressing liquids.
- All persons using dust suppressing liquids shall apply those liquids to the swept or maintained areas prior to and during sweeping or maintenance operations in amounts sufficient to minimize the generation of fugitive dust.
- No person shall conduct sweeping or maintenance operations in such a manner as to cause or significantly contribute to the cause of injury or damage to human health, plant or animal life or property, or so as to unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property.
- No person shall undertake any sweeping or maintenance of highways or off street parking, loading, or storage areas at any time when an air quality advisory is in effect, unless approved by an Authorized Person on the basis that dust suppression measures satisfactory to the Authorized Person will be taken to control fugitive dust.
- All owners and operators of off street parking, loading and storage areas, sand and gravel pits, demolition sites, construction sites and highways shall maintain those areas so that fugitive dust does not escape in such a manner as to cause or significantly contribute to the cause of injury or damage to human health, plant or animal life or property, or so as to unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property.
Bylaw Services Manager Fred Crittenden admits, there may be some who skirt the bylaw by doing the sweeping operations between midnight and 4 a.m. “I guess like any bylaw offense, people try to skirt the rules when they can, those are things that should be reported to our office. And there are provisions for getting a permit if something needs to be done.”
Crittenden is aware of at least one such permit being issued, then rescinded in the past couple of days because the equipment listed in the application needed further inspection. Charges have been laid under the Clean Air Bylaw in the past says Crittenden, although none in the past few days “If people give us enough evidence that we feel, yes, someone has violated the clean air bylaw, in some cases we’ve been sent photos and even videos of companies doing it, then we can follow that information up. We aren’t out there 24 hours a day unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to do that.”
Those who are in violation of the Clean Air Bylaw could face a maximum fine of $10,000.
Something else to keep in mind, because there is an air quality advisory in effect in the City, there is to be no out door burning. Crittenden says the Fire Department will be called upon to respond to outdoor burning complaints, and the evidence they gather will be given to Bylaw Services for further action.