Air Quality Monitoring Program

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Two specific air quality monitoring programs are underway at the Giant Mine site. These include a site-wide network and activity-specific monitoring around the roaster decontamination and deconstruction project.

The program provides data to ultimately ensure the prevention of potential adverse effects to people and the environment from atmospheric emissions from the project during ongoing remediation activities. More details on the air monitoring program, including real-time data and weekly reports are available on the NWT Air Quality Monitoring Network.

Site-wide Network


Fenceline network: This map
shows the location of the air
monitoring stations around
the Giant Mine site.

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This satellite image shows the whole Giant Mine site, on the shores of Great Slave Lake. Specifically, It pinpoints the location of the six air quality monitoring stations that make up the site-wide network. Four of the stations (Stations B, D, E and F) are located along the south, southeast end of the mine site. Another station (Station A) is located at the northeast end of the site while Station C is near the northernmost point of the site.




Community network: This
map shows the location of
the air monitoring stations
located around the community.

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This satellite image of the Yellowknife area shows the location of the three air quality monitoring stations that make up the community network. The stations are located at the marina (which is north of the city), in N'dilo (which is northeast of the city), and in downtown Yellowknife.


The site-wide air quality monitoring program includes community monitoring and fenceline monitoring stations. This network provides air quality data related to onsite activities and the potential effects on the local air.

It allows the Project Team to verify that residents are not being exposed to unacceptable levels of contaminants from the activities occurring at the Giant Mine site.

The community network is made up of stations at the Giant Mine Marina, in N’Dilo and near downtown Yellowknife. This network is used to measure against the GNWT and project air quality markers for the protection of health. The stations monitor continuously for two sizes of particulate matter 10 microns and 2.5 microns in size (PM10 and PM2.5), which is dust that can get into one’s lungs. (For comparison, one strand of hair is about 75 microns in diameter.)

As well, integrated sampling is conducted every third day at each station for lab analysis of metals (including arsenic, antimony, iron, lead and nickel), asbestos and particulate (TSP, PM10). Integrated sampling refers to the two types of data taken from the same one filter in the monitor: the filter is weighed to find the TSP and PM10 and the filter is then sent to be analyzed for metals.

The fenceline program measures dust to ensure dust and contaminants are not being released from the project site. The program is used to ensure the health guidelines are not exceeded in the community. Six fenceline instruments run continuously during onsite work hours (approximately 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.). These instruments monitor for PM10 and total suspended particulate (TSP).

Should the thresholds, based on Health Canada guidelines, be exceeded, actions to be taken may include spraying dust suppressant or altering work practices in order to keep the dust down. Measures are implemented when levels surpass 159 micrograms per cubic metre for PM10 and 333 micrograms per cubic metre for TSP over a 15 minute period.

Roaster Network


Roaster network: This map
shows the location of the air
monitoring stations around
roaster complex.

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This satellite image focuses the buildings of the roaster complex and the six air quality monitoring stations that make up the roaster network. Stations 3, 4, 5 and 7 are rotating stations that move between three locations, on the east, south and west side of the roaster complex. Stations 2 and 6 are fixed at the north end of the roaster complex.


This network monitors air quality around the work perimeter of the roaster decontamination and deconstruction activities. It ensures dust and contaminants from the roaster are not being released into the air at unacceptable levels.

Four stations are placed around the roaster work, one fixed and three that are moved based on wind conditions. The instruments continuously monitor for particulate matter smaller than 10 microns (PM10). Real-time data is used to trigger dust management actions at the roaster site if thresholds are exceeded. Should the thresholds, based on Health Canada guidelines, be exceeded, actions may include wetting buildings or altering work practices in order to keep the dust down.

Integrated sampling is being conducted at two locations: one fixed and one downwind of the work. The sample is sent away to a lab for analysis of arsenic and particulate on rush turnaround. Quality assurance and quality control is ensured by using duplicate samples and field blanks, or non-contaminated filters.