September 19, 2011

Fort McMurray, Alberta – Today the Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) launched its new and improved website at

In addition to the updated look and feel, the new website provides a number of new tools and features for public and member users. One of the most important changes to note on WBEA’s new website is the addition of the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) tool.

The AQHI was recently adopted in Alberta, and is a modified version of the federal AQHI. Alberta’s AQHI works on a scale from 1 to 10 to determine the health risk for the general population and for those with respiratory conditions. The lower the number, the lower the health risks.

The Governments of Canada and Alberta have worked together to develop this unique reporting system for the province, and WBEA has implemented the system on its new website to provide easy access to air quality and health information at a local level.

The index gives Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) residents the most timely and relevant air quality information to plan their outdoor activities. It also allows people to better understand the health risks associated with poor air quality.

WBEA’s new website calculates the AQHI for four areas within the RMWB; Fort Chipewyan, Fort McKay, Fort McKay South and Fort McMurray. Remaining communities will be added later this year and in early 2012.

Dr. Percy Kevin Percy, WBEA Executive Director, said:

“The AQHI readings on WBEA’s website are an extremely important tool. Especially for our community members who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution. It’s very important that residents of the RMWB have information at their fingertips to take precautions should our air quality deteriorate.”

Aside from the AQHI tool, the new website also features:

  • profiles on the scientific experts working with WBEA;
  • an interactive map linking to information and data at each air monitoring station in WBEA’s network;
  • updated information on the Air, Terrestrial and Human Exposure monitoring being conducted by WBEA;
  • a photo archive that visually showcases WBEA’s work;
  • relevant links to other websites, such as the Clean Air Strategic Alliance and WBEA’s YouTube page;
  • and a Library complete with reports, newsletters, fact sheets, and WBEA sound clips and videos.

Dr. Percy says of the new website:

“We hope the combination of the new Air Quality Health Index tool, the real-time air quality monitoring information, and the ample information related to WBEA’s other environmental monitoring work will make a reliable resource for anyone looking for air quality and air related effects information within the RMWB.”

Click to view more information on the Air Quality Health Index tool.