This resource was put together to help Crown Point community members recognize pollution problems and help them report emissions of concern. Pollution problems have many sources and don’t always come out of stacks. Some other emission problems that can be reported to the MOECC are: uncontrolled construction dust (roofing, dry concrete cutting, etc.), dragout problems from unpaved areas (particulate emissions kicked up by traffic), offensive odours coming from commercial areas (organic or chemical). Below are helpful contact numbers as well as background information about pollution and where to access air quality data.
REPORTING AIR EMISSIONS IN OUR COMMUNITY
Do you see visible pollution emissions?
Do you smell an offensive odour coming from the industrial area?
TAKE ACTION! REPORT IT!
Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC)
Call the Hamilton District Office 905-521-7650 (Mon-Fri, 9am-4:30pm)
Call the 24/7 Spills Action Centre 1-800-268-6060
Email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can contact Crown Point area industry directly and copy on your email reports to the MOE.
Below are a couple of the biggest companies located just north of us, others can be found on the Hamilton Industrial Environmental Association website www.hiea.org.
We have printed the above reporting contact info on handy fridge magnets. They are free and if you would like one please contact Kat at email@example.com or come out to a Crown Point Community Planning Team meeting.
Please download the above keymap by dragging the image onto your desktop.
THE INFORMATION YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE AN EFFECTIVE REPORT
If you notice an emission of concern, we strongly advise you to take action and notify the proper channels. This helps to ensure that the polluter is held accountable and pollution trends don’t go unnoticed. Below are a few tips on how to effectively report pollution problems.
When calling the MOECC, specify that you would like to lodge an official complaint – this ensures your concern is properly recorded. Be prepared to indicate the following about the emission:
- Date and time of the occurrence
- Odour description
- Wind direction (this information can be obtained by pressing the flag icon
on the HAMN map here
The following descriptions are also helpful:
- Colour and size of emission
- Intensity (opacity)
- Duration of plume
- Residue or particle fallout
- Discharging stack/location (please download the STACKWATCH key legend here or visit the Hamilton Industrial Environmental Association stack keys by clicking here.
WHAT’S COMING OUT OF THE STACKS
The creation of steel is a complex process involving many steps. There are many sources of emissions during this process including stacks, open pits, roads, etc. AM-Dofasco alone has approximately 750 emission sources releasing over 150 substances into the air.
Although most of the large plumes seen coming out of the steel mills are steam (generated from quenching coke from the coke batteries), it is not uncommon to see other emissions of varying colour and opacity released from the plants. These releases may cause increased health risks or other environmental impacts that make reporting these issues important to ensure that polluters are held accountable and pollution trends don’t go unnoticed. For a full list of substances released by the local industry visit www.hamnair.ca/airborne-pollutant-descriptions.aspx
Although the human sense of smell is feeble compare to that of many animals, it is still very acute. We can recognize thousands of different smells, and we are able to detect odours even in infinitesimal quantities. Humans are capable of detecting certain substances in dilutions of less than one part in several billion parts of air*.
Odour detection variances between individuals
Our smelling ability increases to reach a plateau at about the age of eight, and declines in old age. Some researchers claim that our smell-sensitivity behind to deteriorate long before old age, perhaps even from the early 20s. Other scientists report that smelling ability depends on the person’s state of mental and physical health, with some very healthy 80-year-olds having the same olfactory prowess as young adults. Women consistently out-perform men on all test of smelling ability.
Are odours harmful?
Effects from exposure to chemical odours can be an immediate health threat, a long-term threat, or may pose no health threat at all. Getting sick from chemical odours will depend on what you are exposed to, how much you are exposed to, how long you are exposed, how often you are exposed, and your individual sensitivity to the odour.
* Sourced from Social Issues Resource Centre
Below is a guideline chart of some common odours you may experience. Proper monitoring equipment is required in order to identify a pollutant with 100% accuracy.
What is that “rancid popcorn” smell?
The odour is the result of tallow. Tallow is a rendered form of animal fat that is used as a lubricant during the metal cutting and steel rolling process. Although there are no health impacts associated with this odour please alert the MoE on days when it is pungent.
WHO MONITORS OUR AIR?
For many years the provincial Ministry of Environment (MoE) and federal Environment Canada (EC) carried out ambient and point source air quality monitoring in the Hamilton area. As of May 1st, 2003 ambient air quality monitoring in Hamilton industrial core has been operated, serviced and maintained by the Hamilton Air Monitoring Network (HAMN).
Using this network, AM-Dofasco and US Steel are required to submit an annual summary report of their air quality monitoring results to the Ministry of Environment, in other words, they are self-monitored.
The HAMN collects and reports accurate real-time continuous measurements of ambient pollutant at various sites located around the Hamilton industrial area. There are also non-contiguous air-monitoring samplers in the HAMN network that collect data on a rotating schedule.
Outside of the industrial core, the Ministry of Environment monitors the air through their Air Quality Index (AQI) Network. This network takes data from 3 sites within the city, the Hamilton Mountain (Vickers Rd. and 18th St.), Hamilton West (Main St. West and Hwy. 403), and Hamilton Downtown (Elgin St. and Kelly St.). These sites collect real-time data which produce hourly AQI readings for the area. The lower the index, the better the air quality.
Although this network will inform participating companies when they exceed limits, they will not contact the general population directly. It is up to residents to keep checking the websites for information.
If you need more information about the AQI Network or HAMN visit their websites.
HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?
STACKWATCH resources courtesy of Environment Hamilton.