Thanks for your letter Mr. Van Velzen,

We have swabbed the ‘smoking gun’ you mentioned and the cause of our bad air quality is wood smoke, not dust from the lake. Both PM10 (Sand and Dust) and PM2.5 (small particles from wood smoke, diesel fumes) are measured separately in Valemount. PM2.5 is measured and reported every hour online. Of the two, PM2.5 is the more noxious and it is three times above acceptable levels.

Wood burning poses an exceptional threat in Valemount because of our geography and mountain weather patterns. Inversions trap smoke in town on cold nights in the winter, raising the level of pollutants well above Beijing, China.
BC Hydro’s reservoir operations bring PM10 to Valemount. We should be measuring it with same accuracy as PM2.5.

It’s also a nuissance and a health risk, but we already know our levels of PM2.5 are off the charts. Smoke is an urgent, if inconvenient health problem, all on its own.

Whether the solution is natural gas through a nonexistent pipeline (delivered through nonexistent pipes into nonexistent natural gas furnaces), or electricity through existing infrastructure but priced at natural gas rates, we can agree, something needs to be done.

Andru McCracken,

the Editor