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Sunday, March 25, 2007

BCNG Portals Page

AIR QUALITY More water used to quell problem



By JEREMY DEUTSCH
Observer Reporter

Mar 25 2007

It’s not unusual for air quality in Quesnel this time of year to get bad.

As the snow melts, dust from dirty roads and parking lots fill the air and reduces air quality.

So the city is requiring property owners with parking lots to water their lots before they’re swept.

“What we’re asking them to do is use some water to wet it down prior to sweeping, to keep the dust down as they sweep,” director of public works Jack Marsh said.

“I don’t think it’s a big onus on people.”

Marsh said the city has been using water for a few years when cleaning streets.

“We send a water truck ahead of it, we wet down the road-then we sweep it,” Marsh said.

Marsh said the city hasn’t required private parking lots to use water in the past, but every little bit helps keep the air clear.

With its Airshed Management plan, Quesnel’s Air Quality Roundtable is keeping tabs on air quality problems.

“There is some improvement in air quality in the area, but not a great amount,” AQR chair Dora McMillan said.

“It’s a very, very slow process.”

McMillan hopes property owners will follow the bylaw.

“I’m hoping they will, because it really is a health issue,” she said.

“We all have to work together to clean the air.”

McMillan said March and April are the worst months for air quality.

McMillan points to a study from Prince George due out later this year, on health effects related to dust and chemicals mixing in the air, as proof of how important the issue is.

McMillan will be presenting a report on an update of air quality in 2006 at Nature Education Resource Centre April 11 at 7 p.m.

Marsh said it usually takes six to eight weeks for crews to clean the entire city.

The city started a couple of weeks ago.

“We got a pretty good jump on it for this early in the year,” Marsh said.

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