Operations manual for air quality monitoring in Ontario
Technical guidance and direction to emitters and station operators in Ontario who are responsible for the operation and maintenance of air quality monitoring stations near an emitter’s facilities. It provides a framework for consistent air contaminant monitoring across the province.
Disclaimer: This manual is not, and should not be construed as, legal advice. Please review applicable laws, including Ontario Regulation 419/05, and, if you have any questions about the application or interpretation of the legal requirements or have other legal questions, you should consult a lawyer.
This Operations Manual for Air Quality Monitoring in Ontario is an update of the 2008 version of the manual which was originally published by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (ministry) in 2003 as the Operations Manual for Point Source Air Quality Monitoring. The guidance within this manual is to be used when air quality monitoring is conducted in Ontario and the data is to be submitted to the ministry or used to support applications or assessments submitted to the ministry. The ministry provides oversight of air quality monitoring in Ontario near point sources through the role of inspector.
This 2018 revised version, hereafter referred to as the Manual, includes revisions needed to recognise new sampling and monitoring technologies, to better reflect monitoring activities under Ontario Regulation 419/05: Air Pollution – Local Air Quality and in recognition of expanding monitoring activities in the province through various programs and initiatives.
The purpose of the Manual is to provide technical guidance and direction to emitters and station operators in Ontario who are responsible for the operation and maintenance of air quality monitoring stations. The manual provides a framework to harmonise air contaminant monitoring across the province. The intent of the Manual is to ensure the collection of accurate air monitoring data, and to ensure that the data is collected and reported to the ministry in a timely fashion, as appropriate.
The requirements set out in the Manual are considered to be minimum requirements to satisfy the ministry that the quality of data being collected from monitoring programs is acceptable. Emitters and station operators may choose to follow more stringent specifications or more elaborate procedures. Additionally, the ministry may in certain instances require more stringent criteria to be utilized to meet the goals of the monitoring. In certain situations, taking practical circumstances and limitations into consideration, the ministry may consider variations to monitoring crtieria. Any such deviations from the Operations Manual must be approved by, and completed in consultation with, the ministry.
The Manual is based on standards and procedures used by national agencies such as Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA).
The 2008 manual will remain in effect until June 30, 2018. This revised manual will take effect on July 1, 2018. However, emitters are encouraged to follow the revised manual prior to this date, where possible. New monitoring activities will be required to follow the revised manual immediately. The Manual is considered to be a living document which will be reviewed and revised periodically to reflect the introduction of new monitoring and data collection technologies and practices, as well as changing ministry requirements for air monitoring in Ontario.
Scope of the Revised Manual
The Manual is a compilation of guidance material and requirements pertaining to the collection and reporting of air quality data for both continuously monitored and non-continuously sampled parameters. The Manual applies to all air quality monitoring activities conducted in Ontario by emitters and other agencies that:
- are requirements of legal instruments (e.g., Control Orders, Environmental Compliance Approvals [ECAs], Memoranda of Understanding)
- will be used in support of Environmental Assessments (EA)
- are part of Combined Assessments of Modelling and Monitoring (CAMMs) conducted under Paragraph 3 of Section 11(1) of Ontario Regulation 419/05
- result in monitoring data being submitted to the ministry
- generate air quality data which will be presented to health units and/or to the public of Ontario
The Manual includes the following topics:
- Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) Guidance
- Data validation and editing
- Requirements for reporting monitoring and sampling results to the ministry
- Station and Probe Siting Criteria
- Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for continuous monitoring and non- continuous sampling methods
Section 1, QA/QC Guidelines, discusses monitoring and QA/QC objectives, the QA/QC program, monitoring plan, site selection, measurement methods and operating specifications, sampling system requirements, site and analyzer operation, calibration and reference standards, the ministry’s audit program, station and instrumentation, and laboratory selection and analytical testing.
Section 2, Data Validation, discusses date and time stamping, Method Detection Limit (MDL), meteorological data, and data editing and validation protocols for continuously monitored and discretely sampled parameters.
Section 3, Data Reporting, discusses various reporting requirements for monitored data including exceedance reporting, data reporting requirements for emitters and other agencies, and public reporting requirements.
Section 4, Air Quality Monitoring Data Collected by Emitters, outlines requirements for emitters that collect air monitoring data as part of the Source Emissions Monitoring (SEM) program, or as a condition of an Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA), an order, or other legal instrument.
Section 5, Station and Probe Siting Criteria, provides guidance on the selection of sites to meet the objectives of the monitoring program. It also provides guidance and requirements for the proper location, and design and construction, of inlet probes for the parameters listed in the Manual.
Section 6, the SOPs, provide minimum performance specifications. The SOPs briefly describe, on a parameter by parameter basis,the US EPA designated reference methods, equivalent methods and available reference documents from various agencies, non-designated monitoring methods accepted by the ministry, the minimum service, operation and maintenance requirements, instrumentation QA/QC requirements (internal and external performance checks), and audits by the ministry. The SOPs are not intended to provide a detailed description of monitoring/sampling methods: Emitters and site operators need to review the method reference documents for detailed method descriptions.
There are a number of revisions in this edition of the Manual. The key revisions include:
Station and Instrument Documentation:
This is an essential component of a QA/QC program that is now explicitly discussed within the Manual. Previous versions of the manual referenced ECCC and US EPA guidance documents. Station and instrumentation documentation and logs are now a routine part of audits and are a requirement.
New within manual to ensure that reliable instruments are used in monitoring programs.
Certification/Verification of Calibration Equipment by the Ministry:
The ministry’s Laboratory Services Branch (LaSB) no longer provides annual certification services. Site operators should obtain the necessary certification equipment or the certification services from a third party capable of providing the equipment or service.
Ministry Audit Program:
Audit criteria are now included which define an audit failure and introduce the concept of a conditional pass.
The manual clarifies that when measurements take place over shorter intervals than the standard’s averaging time, assessment against standards must be done using running averages. That is, limits apply to any defined period, not just clock defined periods.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs):
The list of continuous monitors has been expanded. Additions include SOPs for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), the Recordum Airpointer and the Sharp 5030.
Additions to the list of non-continuous samplers include asbestos sampling, hydrogen fluoride sampling, and passive trace gas sampling. SOPs for filter handling and high-volume sampler calibration have been developed.
This version of the Manual includes additional information, based upon a joint ministry-industry review related to the use of ambient monitors for a CAMM, in accordance with Paragraph 3 of Section 11(1) of O. Reg. 419/05. There are other updates related to the ministry’s introduction, in 2011 for implementation starting in July 2016, of annual average air standards.
1.0 QA/QC Guidelines for Source Emissions Monitoring
To ensure that data reported to the ministry and the public is of high quality, operators of air quality monitoring stations and equipment are required to implement the quality assurance / quality control (QA/QC) practices described in this Manual: these practices are minimum requirements. Participants may choose more stringent specifications or more elaborate QA/QC procedures as they deem as the minimum requirement set out in this manual.
1.2 Monitoring Objectives
There are a variety of objectives for which an ambient air quality monitoring program may be required:
- Measuring air contaminant concentrations for use in assessing emissions in relation to ministry standards and limits (O. Reg. 419/05 standards, point of impingement [POI] guidelines, ambient air quality criteria [AAQCs], interim guidelines, or any other limits set out in a regulatory instrument such as an Order or Environmental Compliance Approval [ECA]). A summary of O. Reg. 419/05 schedule 1, 2 and 3 standards, schedule 6 upper risk thresholds, POI guidelines and AAQCs is available from the Rules on air quality and pollution webpage;
- Measuring air contaminant concentrations of any contaminant that may cause an adverse effect;
- Ensuring good quality data is collected to assist in the prevention of possible adverse effects due to air emissions from an industrial facility;
- Providing and reporting accurate measured air monitoring data from industrial sources to the ministry and the Ontario public;
- Providing accurate and reliable measured air pollutant concentration and meteorological data in support of air quality modelling calculations (see ministry document “Procedure for Preparing an Emission Summary and Dispersion Modelling (ESDM) Report” for information on incorporating monitoring data into modelling);
- Determining the impact of industrial air emissions on local air quality in an adjacent community(ies) and in the regional air shed;
- Providing accurate and reliable data as part of an integrated air quality management and/or control system;
- Determining air quality improvements and trends in conjunction with industrial air emissions abatement programs;
- Providing data to assess local population and ecosystem exposure to air contaminants;
- Determining background concentrations of contaminants as part of an Environmental Assessment (EA); and,
- Monitoring to ensure proponents meet modelled emissions as specified in the EA process.
1.2.1 Ontario Regulation 419/05
The results of ambient air monitoring can be used to identify non-compliance/non-conformance with the standards in O. Reg. 419/05 and other limits. However, it should be noted that the ministry will not accept monitoring information alone as a conclusive demonstration of compliance/conformance with the standards in O. Reg. 419/05 or other limits. One rationale for this position is that a monitor can only measure concentrations at a very specific location and cannot provide information about concentrations at other locations.
To address such limitations of solely using ambient air monitoring or atmospheric dispersion modelling, the most accurate assessments of compliance with O. Reg. 419/05 must include the combination of ambient air monitoring with atmospheric dispersion modelling. Appendix E (Review of Approaches for the Combined Analysis of Modelled and Monitored Results) of the ministry’s Procedure for Preparing an Emission Summary and Dispersion Modelling Report, provides guidance on the coordinated use of modelling and monitoring to assess compliance with O. Reg. 419/05. Any ambient air monitoring plan for a Combined Assessment Modelling and Monitoring (CAMM), submitted by emitters as part of O. Reg. 419/05 must be a reviewed and approved plan under Section 11(1) paragraph 3 of O. Reg. 419/05. Plans are subject to certain requirements, for example, meeting siting criteria, potentially subject to ministry audits, etc.
1.3 QA/QC Objectives
The QA/QC guidelines within this manual provide uniform data quality objectives to be achieved by emitters along with minimum requirements with respect to operational protocols. The implementation of these guidelines will ensure that air quality monitoring data across the province is:
- accurate and reliable
- representative (spatially and temporally)
1.4 QA/QC Program
The Environment Canada report entitled National Air Pollution Surveillance Network Quality Assurance and Quality Control Guidelines1 documents the elements of an air quality monitoring QA/QC program, which includes the following:
- plan, establish, develop and manage monitoring network programs (measurement methodology, equipment selection, and operating conditions);
- site selection (spatial scale of representativeness, location, separation distances);
- sampling system requirements (shelter requirements, probe/analyzer siting criteria, manifold design, probe material);
- site and analyzer operation (site visits, operating procedures, data acquisition and preventative maintenance);
- calibration (frequency, procedures, guidelines);
- station and instrumentation performance audits, laboratory accreditation/selection and testing;
- data validation and reporting;
- documentation (site documentation, site activities logbook, analyzer operation and maintenance manuals, QA/QC manual);
- personnel training and technical support.
All of these elements are discussed within the Manual, and minimum requirements are provided.
1.5 Monitoring Plan
Prior to initiating ambient air quality monitoring activities, a monitoring plan must be submitted to the ministry for approval. This would include development plans for monitoring activities undertaken either voluntarily or as required in legal instruments such as notices, orders or ECAs, and CAMMs, submitted to the ministry as part of O. Reg. 419/05, as per Paragraph 3 of Section 11 (1). It is recommended that the ministry be consulted early in the planning stages. The purpose of the ministry review of the monitoring plan is to ensure the data collected and submitted to the ministry is accurate and reliable in terms of assessing compliance and/or the potential for adverse effects. Monitoring plans will be reviewed and approved in writing by the ministry following a consultative process with the proponent.
The monitoring plan, as a minimum, must include the following:
- purpose or objectives of the monitoring program;
- expected duration of the monitoring program;
- identified and suspected air emission source(s);
- identified and suspected receptors;
- number and location of monitoring sites (including meteorological sites);
- air quality parameters to be monitored and the monitoring frequency;
- monitoring methods/instruments to be used;
- analytical methods/procedures;
- laboratory services support to be used;
- dispersion model to be used (if applicable);
- QA/QC plan;
- data reporting procedures
If the monitoring is conducted by or on behalf of an emitter or another entity to evaluate in community concentrations of contaminants, once the monitoring station or network has been established, any proposed changes to the monitoring plan, such as the addition of new instruments, the removal of instruments, or relocated monitors, etc., must be submitted in writing, for prior approval, to the ministry.
1.6 Site Selection
Site selection will depend upon the purpose of the monitoring program. For example, in the case where assessing community exposure is the objective, site selection must consider the location of identified or suspected sensitive receptors, and the locations where the highest concentrations of air contaminants are anticipated based on meteorological and modelling information. In the case where ambient monitors are being used to assess emissions from fugitive sources, monitors should be sited in the vicinity of those sources. The proponent should consult with the ministry early in the site selection process. All monitoring sites must be located in accordance with ministry siting criteria (see Section 5) and the locations must be approved in writing by the ministry as part of the monitoring plan. Taking practical circumstances and limitations into consideration, the criteria need to be met as closely as possible. The location of sites may be reviewed or audited from time to time by ministry staff to ensure that the monitoring objectives and siting criteria are, and will continue to be met in the foreseeable future. Monitoring sites may only be relocated with approval from the ministry.
1.7 Measurement Methods, Analyser Selection and Operating Specifications
There are a variety of recognised methods to measure pollutant concentrations in air. Analysers that satisfy the requirements of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) as equivalent, or as reference methods for ambient air monitoring, should be selected where possible. Section 6 provides Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for analysers which are predominantly used in Ontario. These SOPs are short documents which provide emitters and site operators with information on reference documents, the acceptable monitoring method(s), any additional equipment required, and instrumentation QA/QC requirements, such as the type of internal/external performance checks and calibrations, and the performance audits by the ministry.
Minimum performance specifications for gas analysers are summarised in Table 5.
Real-time measurement of particles in air must also satisfy the requirements of US EPA equivalent reference methods for ambient air monitoring. Alternate methods, such as nephelometers, may be used in an ambient monitoring program, provided the unit has been validated against a reference or equivalent method.
1.8 Sampling System Requirements
The integrity and true representation of the air sample and the resulting data quality is strongly affected by the design of the sampling system in a monitoring station. The following all play an important role in ensuring the collection of representative samples of air: temperature stability of the shelter, the location of the sampling probe(s), the manifold or sample inlet line system, the length of the probe, probe construction material and the filters/fittings.
1.8.1 Shelter Requirements
Continuous analyzers must be housed inside secured buildings or shelters with restricted and/or controlled public access. It is recommended that the analyzers be housed in their own dedicated shelter for better control over concerns such as security, temperature stability, dust levels, health and safety, and after hours or weekend access. The shelter must be ventilated, heated and cooled to maintain an inside temperature in the range required for operation of instruments throughout the year to meet the specifications of the housed instrumentation. It should have good lighting, and must have an adequate electrical power supply. The shelter must also provide adequate space and electrical power supply to allow ministry personnel to operate audit equipment. Communications service should be available for data transmission telemetry. Consideration should be given to the use of an intrusion alarm and/or a chain link fence around the shelter, and adequate exterior lighting to secure the facility and protect it against unauthorised access. The shelter location requirements, with respect to surrounding obstructions, are summarized in the Station and Probe Siting Criteria section (Section 5).
Stand-alone samplers must be provided with, and be attached to, a solid, level and stable foundation that will prevent the sampler from toppling. A concrete pad or an elevated platform is acceptable. Tall grass and bushes must be kept trimmed for at least 10 metres in all directions around the sampler. Sampler line power must be provided with service wires that comply with local and provincial electrical codes. Collocated samplers must be located at least 2 metres, but not more than 4 metres apart. The operator must take practical steps to ensure that the motor exhaust does not influence or interfere with samples collected. As best practice, the MOECC recommends a minimum exhaust conduit length of 3 metres from the monitor inlet downwind according to the prevailing wind direction. The placement of the exhaust conduit must also consider the potential impact on other nearby samplers.
1.8.2 Probe Siting Criteria and Manifold Design
Air sample inlet probe construction materials along with the design of the inlet manifold are important in obtaining representative air samples and conserving the integrity of the contaminant concentrations. The design of the inlet manifold should minimize the effects of moisture condensation, pressure drop, dust settlement and air sample residence time in the inlet. To achieve this goal, the inlet manifold design must adhere to the requirements outlined in Appendix II of the ECCC QA/QC guidance document1. Regular inspections of the inlet line and manifold are required to ensure that they are kept clean and have no air leaks.
1.9 Site and Analyzer Operation
The operation of the monitoring stations, analyzers and samplers must include site visits by the operating party, regularly scheduled zero and span verification, manual calibrations, sample filter changes (e.g., discrete particulate samplers), preventative maintenance and documentation.
It is the responsibility of the company/emitter/proponent that the necessary consumables and spare parts are available to minimize instrument down time, so as to ensure that the necessary percentage of valid data is met (see Section 2.4). As a minimum, the recommendations within manufacturer’s instrument operations manuals should be followed.
1.9.1 Site Visits and Analyzer Operations
The frequency of site visits will depend on system and instrument reliability, recommended manufacturer service and maintenance requirements, and past experience with site operations. A schedule of routine bi-weekly visits is recommended. More frequent visits are suggested, for example, to check instrument calibration as soon as possible after a pollution episode, or if there is any doubt about station and analyzer operations. This will require judgment on the part of the operator. Each operation and maintenance site visit by the operator must be documented in the site log or an electronic log. A sample pollutant log for SO2 is shown in Appendix 1. The operator should also follow a checklist of activities to ensure proper operating conditions before leaving the site. The Environment Canada QA/QC guidance document1 provides a checklist for consideration by site operators (see Appendix 2).
The ministry SOPs for continuous analyzers require, as a minimum, a monthly external performance check and calibration using a certified calibration unit. Quarterly external performance checks are required for the continuous and non-continuous particulate samplers.
The operator must be trained and have experience in the operation of each continuous analyzer and non-continuous sampler used, and closely follow the procedures in the manufacturer’s operating manual and the ministry SOPs listed in Section 6.
1.9.2 Data Acquisition
For continuous monitoring of air contaminants and meteorological parameters, a real-time data acquisition system (DAS) to collect, display and report the data is required. Data Acquisition Systems have a wide range of capabilities (e.g., telephone, wireless, radio link, satellite communications, editing and reporting software, etc.) and emitters/site operators should select systems that suit their needs and also meet the requirements specified by the ministry.
1.9.3 Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance routines specified in the analyser’s or sampler’s manufacturer’s operation and maintenance manuals of the analyzer or sampler should be followed as closely as possible. Operators may wish to follow more stringent procedures.
1.10 Calibration and Reference Standards
In combination with automatic zero and span checks, calibrations are used to establish the validity of the data.
There are many models and makes of dilution calibrators designed for dynamic calibration of ambient air analyzers. Gas cylinders, permeation devices or a combination of both can be used as calibration source materials. The operator must be properly trained and have experience in the operation and maintenance of the calibrator. Federal and Provincial Health and Safety legislation must be followed with respect to operator training and the proper handling and shipping of calibration materials.
Ministry SOPs state that operators must perform an external performance check and calibration on continuous and non-continuous air monitoring and sampling equipment with a certified calibration unit. This requires that the calibration materials/gases and measurement devices, such as flow meters and pressure gauges, must be certified for accuracy against a reference or transfer standard traceable to a primary reference standard of the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) or another equivalent international standards institute. This is to ensure consistency across the province and reproducibility between instruments and over time. The responsibility for ensuring that calibration materials and measurement devices have the required certification rests with the emitter/proponent.
At least once per year, formal certification of gas calibration devices by a certification authority is required. The ministry will verify at least once per year that the gas calibration devices used by site operators have had their annual certification performed.
Flow, temperature and barometric pressure calibration equipment must have the certification traceable back to NIST standards (or another equivalent international standards institute) according to the frequency recommended by the manufacturer. This can be accomplished by obtaining the necessary equipment or certification services from a third party capable of providing the equipment or service.
1.11 Audit Program
Ministry staff will regularly audit industrial monitoring procedures and activities. Authority for these audits can be found under Section 156 of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA). The audit program will determine the effectiveness of quality control activities used by station operators and data management staff. Ministry staff aim to ensure province-wide consistency by conducting audits.
1.11.1 What to Expect when Audited
Prior to the first audit, ministry staff will arrange a meeting with emitter management and the station operator to provide the scope of the audit, the obligations of the inspector and emitter, and a list of the documents the inspector will need to review while on-site. Once an emitter/proponent has received notification by the ministry of the date an audit of the monitoring equipment is to be undertaken. No Calibration or adjustment of the instrument should occur unless there has been a malfunction or failure. Should such an event (malfunction or failure) occur it is to be documented in the log and the ministry promptly informed.
A station operator or an emitter’s management representative must accompany ministry inspection staff to access the sites and witness the audit. During the on-site audit, the inspector(s) will introduce themselves on arrival; and if required provide information on the reason(s) for the audit, the statutory authority (the law) governing the audit (EPA Section 156) and the scope of the audit. Ministry staff are also able to address concerns brought forward and should provide clear, detailed explanations of ministry requirements when necessary. They will also provide a contact number should further information or feedback be required. Site operators and emitters’ management representatives are encouraged to ask any questions they may have about the audit process or ministry guidelines and requirements.
After the audit is completed, the preliminary results will be reviewed with the site operator or emitter’s company representative while the inspector is still on site, and the site operator or emitter’s company representative will be asked to sign the audit results worksheet(s) as having witnessed the audit. If the ministry audit criteria are met, based on instrumentation performance checks such as air sampling flow rates and responses to test gas concentrations, etc., the audit results will be provided in writing by the inspector to the emitter’s management representative or the site operator via a formal audit report. If the audit criteria are not met, the inspector will provide the site operator with the option of immediately resetting the instrument within acceptable tolerances. At that time, the inspector will advise the site operator or the emitter’s company representative of corrective actions that may be required. A report of the results and of any corrective actions required will be sent to the emitter as part of the audit report. Depending on the circumstances and follow-up actions, the ministry may re-audit an instrument that did not meet the audit criteria.
After the audit, the inspector may contact the site operator or emitter’s management representative prior to finalizing audit reports to clarify information or to discuss details of the results. Periodically, short-notice audits or unannounced audits may be conducted. In this case, the site operator or emitter’s management representative will be given minimal but reasonable notice.
1.11.2 Audit Focus and Scope
The main focus of the audit program is to ensure that air quality measurements recorded by emitters are collected, managed and reported to the ministry in a manner that ensures the integrity of the collected and reported data. Air quality monitoring comprises a number of activities, processes, procedures and data management practices. These include the locating of air monitoring stations following established siting criteria; the proper installation, operation and maintenance of analyzers and samplers; sample analysis in a laboratory; data management and reporting; and information management.
In situations where an emitter has hired a third party to operate and maintain air quality monitoring stations, and to report monitoring data to the ministry, the ministry considers the emitter to be responsible for the station. Audit reports will be sent to the emitter.
The scope of the ministry audit program is to determine the overall performance of monitoring activities performed by the emitters and conformance to generally accepted QA/QC requirements for air quality monitoring and data reporting. This is best accomplished through a ‘Systems Audit’, that is, a comprehensive audit that incorporates all activities, processes, procedures and practices related to the collection and reporting of air quality data by emitters. The ‘Systems Audit’ has essentially three components: a ‘Site Audit’, ‘Instrument Performance Audit’ and an ‘Information Management Audit’.
Site/Instrument Performance Audit
Site audits include, but are not restricted to:
- how well sites conform to siting criteria
- how well sites are maintained
Instrument performance audits may include, but are not restricted to:
- determining that instruments and sampling devices are properly installed
- checking overall condition of instruments and sampling devices and performance of required maintenance
- assessing the complete sampling system
- performing instrument checks
- reviewing sample handling, storage and shipping
- conducting collocated monitoring by the ministry, and
- examining and verifying the station and instrument log, and calibration records
A site audit will periodically be performed in conjunction with an instrument performance audit. The instrument performance audits are conducted with certified audit devices (e.g., portable gas calibrators, flow meters, temperature and barometric pressure sensors, gas cylinders) traceable to a NIST (or another equivalent international standards institute) standard.
As described in the SOPs (section 6.0), instrument performance audits will be performed by ministry staff at least quarterly for continuous analyzers, at least semi-annually for non-continuous samplers and every one to two years for meteorological sensors. The frequency of audits will also depend on performance. Additional audits by the ministry or a calibration check of the analyzer(s) by the site operator after a measured pollution incident may also be required.
For the purposes of the audit, and hence data quality acceptability, the ministry will use a conformance/non-conformance limit of ±10% of the test gas value or of the sampler air flow rate. Non-conformance with this criterion will require that the emitter, in consultation with the ministry, take corrective actions and advise the ministry in writing of any actions taken. Corrective actions may include data editing to correct historical instrument drift.
In cases where criteria are not met, a follow-up audit by ministry staff may be required to ensure that appropriate corrective actions have been taken in a timely manner. For continuously monitored parameters (such as SO2 or total reduced sulfur [TRS] acquired with a telemetry system, an audit starting from the analyzer through to the emitter’s central computer will be undertaken periodically to ensure that the data recorded by the analyzer is correctly transmitted to and stored in the operator’s data acquisition system. Finally, the ministry’s Laboratory Services Branch (LaSB) may also participate in these audit activities with respect to the selection, use and performance of private laboratories.
Information Management Audit
Information management audits apply to all aspects of information collection, handling, storage and retrieval, this includes but is not limited to: record keeping (instrument operation and maintenance logs, sample submission chain of custody forms, data validation/editing, site activity logs, etc.); continuous data computer storage and back-up procedures; DAS time verification procedures; data editing/reporting protocols (reporting of method detection limits, required statistical analyses) and required formats; laboratory reports, etc.
1.11.3 Audit Criteria
An instrument will be deemed to have failed an audit if any of the following criteria are met:
- One or more audited instrument parameters do not meet the quantified audit criteria;
- The operator adjusts or calibrates the instrument after notification of an impending audit has been given. This condition does not apply to daily spans, and does not apply if calibrations are part of a routine maintenance schedule which has been previously documented and made available for verification by ministry audit staff;
- The analyser fails to stabilise within 10 minutes after the introduction of the test gas at any given calibration point; or
- The instrument is not properly connected to the sample inlet.
A failed audit may result in instrument audit frequency being increased until the instrument passes two consecutive audits. If the operator does not have, or fails to keep current, a log of calibration and maintenance activities, or if the log is unavailable for review by the audit staff at the time of an audit, a conditional pass may be issued if the monitor otherwise passes the audit.
Note: This type of conditional pass is administrative in nature and not related to the performance of the equipment.
1.12 Station/Instrumentation Documentation and Logs
Logs must be kept, and they must include a record of all work performed on an instrument. The log should be kept on site and remain with the instrument. The log must be kept current and must be available for on-site review by ministry staff. Logs should be maintained by the person or persons responsible for the calibration, maintenance and repair of the instruments and must contain the following:
- Date and time of service activity;
- All data relevant to calibration; calibration values and settings (span pot, zero pot, etc.);
- Documentation of the nature, as well as the date and time, of any adjustments that are made (span changes, zero changes, etc.) and the reasons for the adjustments;
- Description of any repairs that are made (lamp replacement, quartz tube replacement, etc.) and the reason for the repairs;
- Description and date of equipment malfunction, modifications or replacement; and,
- Documentation of routine maintenance actions (perm tube replacement, filter exchange, etc.).
All original records (calibration log and site logs) must be complete, legible, dated and signed by the site operator and retained as a part of the permanent analyser calibration record. The operator’s signature on the calibration log form certifies that the calibration has been performed in accordance with QA/QC protocols, as per SOPs, and that the information contained on the form is accurate.
1.13 Laboratory Accreditation/Selection
For environmental samples which require laboratory analyses, such as suspended particulate matter (SP) (previously referred to as total suspended particulate matter [TSP], or particulate matter [PM]) and its constituents (e.g., trace metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons [PAH], dioxins/furans [PCDD/PCDF], etc.) and volatile organic compounds (VOC), the ministry requires that all environmental laboratory services work be performed by laboratories whose analytical methods, as required by the monitoring program, are accredited in accordance with the international standard , except under the following circumstances.
The ministry will allow the use of a laboratory which does not have the required accreditation provided the ministry can review and approve the selection of the laboratory, the proposed analytical methodologies and the QA/QC procedures. The ministry will provide advice and guidance in assisting in selecting an environmental analytical laboratory for required analytical services. For assistance contact: Laboratory Services Branch, 125 Resources Road, Etobicoke, Ontario M9P 3V6,
Emitters should consult the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) or the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (CALA) for a list of accredited Ontario analytical laboratories to perform specific air analyses. The lists are derived from accreditation scopes posted on both the SCC and CALA websites and are scheduled to be updated quarterly. However, this may not ensure its accuracy or completeness. Errors or omissions should be reported in writing to the ministry’s Laboratory Services Branch (LaSB), 125 Resources Road, Etobicoke, Ontario M9P 3V6 care of the Assistant Director. Accredited laboratories operating outside of Ontario may request to be included on the list by writing to the same address.
The analytical methods accepted by the ministry’s LaSB are referenced in the relevant SOPs presented in Section 6. Copies of these method descriptions are available from the ministry’s LaSB by e-mailing to LaboratoryServicesBranch@Ontario.ca and a PDF copy of the method will be provided. Please provide your full contact details including address and telephone number.
Questions regarding these methods or the list of accredited or certified laboratories can also be directed in writing to the mailing address above or electronically via the email address above.
It is important to note that, where achievable, the ministry requires analytical method detection limits (MDL) for laboratory analyzed samples to be at least a factor of ten lower than the applicable O. Reg. 419/05 schedule 1, 2 and 3 standards, POI guidelines and AAQCs. Information on MDLs and how they are to be used in reporting data is provided in section 2.2.