Ambient Air Monitoring

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Ambient Air Monitoring, also known as Ambient Air Quality Testing can be conducted by ECL to determine the particulate concentration or gaseous of air that may be released into the environment or breathed by humans.

ECL can also supply, install and commission ambient samplers, complete with met stations (wind speed and direction) to provide basic meteorological data, for the monitoring of Airborne Particulate PM10 & PM2.5, Trace Organic and Trace Metals concentrations at agreed boundary positions on your site.


What is Ambient Air Monitoring?

Ambient Air Monitoring is the monitoring of the quality of air in a particular area, for example, a city centre.

This type of monitoring is not concerned with monitoring the emissions from chimney stacks like Stack Emissions Testing.

The local ambient air quality can be degraded by a number of sources such as Diesel Engine Exhaust Emissions and power station emissions. The usual substances monitored include dust deposition, PM10, PM2.5, NOx and SOx.

The Irish EPA and the UK Environmental Agency carry out ambient air monitoring, usually, using permanent monitoring stations. This data is usually freely available.

Ambient Air Quality Testing is often necessary as a condition of an IED Licence, Environmental Permit or Planning Condition, to support licence applications or as part of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). A typical example of this is Dust Monitoring at a quarry to ensure dust levels are below those specified in the planning conditions.


How Does Ambient Air Monitoring Work?

ECL has the capability to organise maintenance, calibration and the collection of data and samples via either short or long-term samplers.

Where other pollutants are required such as NO2 , SO2 , O3 and NH3 or organic species, diffusion tubes or passive samplers can be used to provide a value for money alternative. These have the advantage of being small, inconspicuous and negate the need for a power supply or batteries.

Using these techniques, large areas can be surveyed simultaneously to identify “contamination hot-spots”.

Whatever your requirement, ECL can assist you with:

  • Assessing point or area source impacts
  • Determining compliance with national or international standards
  • Development and validation of management tools
  • Identifying future problems or progress against control targets
  • Identifying threats to population health or natural ecosystems
  • Informing the public about air quality and awareness-raising
  • Prioritization of management actions and policy development

Our Ambient Air Monitoring Scope

Using the latest in Ambient Air Monitoring technology, we can measure the concentration of pollutants in surrounding outdoor air. Our comprehensive Ambient Air Quality Testing services include:


Passive Monitoring

Passive Monitoring uses diffusive and passive sampling methods to gain an understanding of the average pollution concentrations over set periods. This is ideal for baseline measurements and temporary sites.

Measured pollutants include SO2, NO2, NOx, CO, O3, HF, H2S, BTEX and VOCs


Deposition Monitoring

Deposition Monitoring is a form of Ambient Air Monitoring that can determine particulate and other pollutant deposition rates along the fenceline of a facility. These results can provide an average pollutant concentration level over a one-month period.

Samples can be analysed for traditional parameters, in particular heavy metals, dioxins, furans etc.


Continuous Monitoring

Continuous Monitoring operates by managing fixed and mobile monitoring stations that are capable of measuring pollutant concentrations in real-time.

Samples usually pass through a Teflon or glass inlet manifold to the analyser. The data is then logged at intervals defined by the user and relayed back to the client. This data is then validated during daily, weekly or monthly calibration checks and quality control.

Typical parameters include PM10, PM2.5, O3, SO2, NOx, CO, THC


Active Sampling

For Active Sampling, ambient air is drawn through a sampling tube at a pre-determined flow rate over a specified duration by means of a calibrated sampling pump


High Volume Sampling

High Volume Sampling via Ambient Air Monitoring determines the concentration of pesticides using Polyurethane Foam and Dioxins using specific cartridges with quartz fibre filters. 


Canister Sampling

For Canister Sampling, A sample is drawn into a canister by vacuum. This can be done via either Grab Sampling or Integrated Sampling.

Grab Sampling is normally performed over a short interval of around one to five minutes, this is often used as an emergency response. It provides a snapshot of air quality at the moment the sample is collected.

Integrated sampling uses a longer period of sampling, usually between five minutes and several hours. A Flow controller regulates the rate at which the sample enters the canister. This technique is used when air quality fluctuates over time or time-weighted concentrations are required.


Experts In Ambient Air Quality Testing

ECL ambient air quality surveys are applicable to many industrial and air quality applications, including:

ECL’s experienced air consultants can design monitoring campaigns, provide expert advice on sampling techniques and provide comprehensive data analysis, reporting and interpretation.

Contact us via our Enquiry Form or call us on 01443 801215 for any queries regarding our wide range of Air Quality Monitoring Services including Ambient Air Monitoring, Ambient Air Quality Testing and Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling.