Well, no. The news from BC Lung is good, but not that good. See page 10 of this report. Basically for the reporting year 2013, NewPro’s last year of operation, Smithers was the second most polluted town in BC for PM2.5 levels. Then in 2014 with NewPro shut down we dropped to number eight position in the province. And that’s in the presence of big time forest fire smoke, too.
But there’s a way to get back up the charts! Just approve pellet production from the defunct (and contaminated?) site of the old panelboard plant and watch that ranking pick up!
One thought on “No more black lung in Smithers??”
The assertion that Smithers annual PM2.5 concentrations went from 2nd worst in 2013 to 8th worst in 2014 in BC due to the shutdown of NewPro is overly-simplistic. First, a meaningful trend cannot be demonstrated based on two points of data. Second, the continuing Province-wide implementation of the SHARP FEM PM2.5 monitors along with a larger network (33 sites listed in 2013 and 43 in sites listed in 2014) will affect the relative rankings of each site making comparisons between rankings meaningless. Thirdly, based on plant operating data and measured PM2.5 in Smithers, there is no correlation between emissions from NewPro and measured PM2.5. In fact, some of the years with higher measured levels had the lowest operating days; an opposing trend. For example, 2011 and 2012 PM2.5 concentrations were lower than 2014 and the panelboard plant was fully operational. Finally, particularly for long-term averages, it is impossible to attribute any change in concentrations to a single facility in an airshed as complex as the Smithers airshed. The local sources (e.g., residential burning and open burning) and complex meteorology can change on an annual basis and dramatically affect the annual PM2.5 concentration.