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MEDIA RELEASE: New video features volunteer-based Fort McMurray Community Odour Monitoring Project

Fort McMurray, Alberta – The newest video produced by Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) gives stakeholders and community members a detailed look at one of the Association’s newer monitoring programs – the Community Odour Monitoring Project.

Odours have become a prominent issue in some communities in the Wood Buffalo region, and WBEA has launched the Community Odour Monitoring Project (COMP) to involve community members in identifying the patterns and types of odours that are commonly experienced in the Fort McMurray area. WBEA’s new video highlights the pilot year of the project, which involved over 35 volunteers in the community of Fort McMurray who were trained to detect and track a variety of common regional odours during the course of their daily activities.

The video highlights key findings from the 2013/2014 project year:

  • 156 individual odour observations were made by the volunteers during the course of the project year (June 1, 2013 – May 31, 2014).
  • The odours of Asphalt/Tar (38 reports), Fuel/Solvent (41 reports) and Burnt/Smoke (24 reports) were the most frequently reported of the 10 odour categories.
  • 56% more odours were observed in the first quarter of the project year (June 1, 2013 – August 31, 2013) than in the subsequent quarters.
  • Of all observation received, 91% came through the website (including the mobile version), and 97% were submitted by participants that declared being healthy and thus presenting no congestion that might interfere with the sense of smell or may affect the nature of their observation.

WBEA will use the data collected through the COMP to better understand the odour patterns impacting the community of Fort McMurray. Data gathered will also be used to inform the public and to address the odour concerns of local residents. Others can use the data to better understand which of their activities may be causing an odour problem, and how to best control odours. The short video, titled WBEA Community Odour Monitoring Project can be viewed from the homepage of WBEA’s website, or on WBEA’s YouTube Channel, http://www.youtube.com/WoodBuffaloEnvAssoc.

In an effort to inform a wider stakeholder audience, WBEA is currently working with local translators to have WBEA Community Odour Monitoring Project translated into Cree and Dene languages. The translated versions will be posted online in October 2014.

The Community Odour Monitoring Project will operate for a second year in Fort McMurray in 2014/2015. WBEA is now recruiting volunteer participants. If you are a resident of Fort McMurray and would like more information, or are interested in participating, please contact WBEA at 780-799-4420.