May 7, 2013

Fort McMurray, Alberta – The Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA), through its Human Exposure Monitoring Program (HEMP), is launching a new community-based odour monitoring project in Fort McMurray.

The project is a result of a new focus and direction for HEMP. WBEA Executive Director, Dr. Kevin Percy, PhD, explains, “In 2009 odours become a prominent issue in some communities in the Wood Buffalo region.  As a result, HEMP’s work was refocused from personal exposure studies, to detection and chemical characterization of odours through specialized instrumentation. The community odour monitoring project is a direct result of this new focus, and it will assist WBEA in monitoring, and further understanding, odours in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.”

WBEA is looking to recruit volunteer participants from the community of Fort McMurray for this new initative. The project, directed by Odotech Inc., will select participants and train them to detect, monitor and track odours in the community. Specialized training in odour identification and strength will be offered to the selected volunteers, and instruction will be provided on tracking odour occurrences either through a written log, the program website, or simple smart phone app.

Volunteering for the community odour monitoring project does not require a large commitment of time. In fact, volunteers are asked to go about their daily activities as they normally would, and simply record odours if, and when, they are noticed.

Fort McMurray residents who are interested in learning more can attend one of the upcoming Community Odour Monitoring Project information sessions:

Thursday, May 9th, 11am
WBEA Office
#100-330 Thickwood Blvd.

Thursday, May 9th, 7pm
MacDonald Island Park
Athabasca Room

Dr. Percy is encouraging Fort McMurray residents to get involved. “We are reaching out to the community of Fort McMurray and asking for their help to ensure that this important community monitoring project is a success. I would encourage any Fort McMurray residents who are interested, and concerned about air quality in our region, to attend one of the May 9th information sessions,” Percy said.

Interested Fort McMurray residents can also contact WBEA directly at 780-799-4420, or visit the project page on the WBEA website http://wbea.org/human-exposure-monitoring/community-odour-monitoring-project.