Vernon dust factor nearly five times that of Kelowna

Vernon dust factor nearly five times that of Kelowna

Road grit a factor in uptick of advisories

The air has failed to clear in Vernon.

The road dust advisory issued Feb. 27 remains in effect today (Feb. 28) due to high concentrations of dust that are expected to persist for the next 24 hours.

The air quality episode is caused by high levels of road dust, measured as particulate matter, specifically PM10. The provincial air quality objective for PM10 is 50 micrograms per cubic metre averaged over 24 hours.

The PM10 concentrations in a 24-hour period for Vernon as of Feb. 28 at 10 a.m. was 94.6. Meanwhile the measurement in in Kelowna during the same period is 19.5.

Ministry of Environment air quality meteorologists have previously told the Morning Star that the issue in Vernon persists due to the level of road traction material used and weather conditions with little precipitation to settle the dust.

But considering Vernon routinely has advisories throughout February and March, the city is looking into the problem.

The type of road grit used is questioned by Coun. Scott Anderson.

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Yet another dust advisory is in effect for the City of Vernon.

Put into effect Feb. 27, the Environment Ministry and Interior Health issued the advisory due to high concentrations of coarse particulate matter in the air.

Levels are highest around busy streets and industrial operations.

The advisory will remain in effect until further notice, but air quality is expected to be poor until there is precipitation or dust suppression.

Vernon city Coun. Scott Anderson voiced his concerns about the type of road grit used by city works Feb. 24.

City staff said the road grit has been tested against neighbouring communities and has been more successful, but staff is looking into all factors considered in an air quality advisory before changing the materials used.

The city is also seeking to procure a vacuum street sweeper, but the timeline proposed will see that hit the streets in spring or summer.

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@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

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