Kitimat-Terrace Clean Air Coalition presented an update on SO2 levels

Hillary Johnson

The Kitimat-Terrace Clean Air coalition was in town last night to provide interested citizens with an update on the SO2 monitoring that took place during a six month period last year. A Director from the Coalition, Charles Claus provided an overview of the project and some of the findings that resulted.


"We did some passive air monitoring for SO2 in the west side, in the downtown core, we had them up in the east side of town. There was also a monitor in the Kitimaat Village and this past year, we also had one monitor in Terrace. So one of our findings in Kitimat is on the west side of town typically; those numbers were a little higher than in the other parts of town."


Claus provided an outline of what industries and conditions are the major cause of SO2 emissions in the Northwest.


"SO2 can come from fires, come from vehicles. It can come from a variety of sources; however the amount that gets emitted from Rio Tinto is significant and that's why this area was studied and that's why there was a whole permitting process before the modernization of the plant could go forward."


The committee will continue its testing next year as the coalition identified the need to determine where SO2 resides within the environment and options that can be deployed by Rio Tinto, that could have a dramatic impact in reducing emissions.


"I think, what we are trying to do is let the public know, specifically, the SO2 permit that has been granted to Rio Tinto-Alcan. Is a significant public permit and at this point, even though their emissions are not the full degree of allowance that the permit allows, 42 tones per day is still a significant amount of pollution and we like to know where does it go and we also like to know how does it affect human health."


A small crowd of people from environmental groups and a Terrace council member attended the meeting and were advised that additional funding to maintain this testing is required to ensure a good understanding of the impacts of SO2 levels in the community.

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