British Columbia

BC Hydro rejects accusations of air monitoring violations

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency warned BC Hydro was not collecting air quality data, and could be fined. BC Hydro is denying that accusation, and says it reports air quality data to the B.C. government.

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency warned BC Hydro it could face a $400,000 fine

BC Hydro spokesperson Dave Conway wrote federal inspectors are demanding specific data not required by federal rules. (BC Hydro)

BC Hydro is rejecting accusations that Site C dam construction is breaking federal rules for monitoring air quality.

In a letter dated May 26, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency warned BC Hydro it could face a hefty fine after the agency claims an April inspection found Hydro was not collecting air quality data.

In particular, the letter said, information was not being collected on total suspended particulates, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide.

BC Hydro spokesperson Dave Conway says that is not true, and argues inspectors are demanding specific data not required by federal rules.

"BC Hydro's monitoring program is designed to monitor those parameters which were identified as having the potential to cause excedances of air quality standards," Conway wrote in a statement. "BC Hydro maintains its network of air quality stations in accordance with industry standards, and to standards acceptable by the B.C. Ministry of Environment."

Conway says BC Hydro is providing real time air quality data to the B.C. government —  "the appropriate air quality monitoring authority for B.C." — and the public utility will install another monitoring station at the dam site so it can report any air pollution from the construction zone.

With files from Betsy Trumpener

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