National Air Pollution Surveillance Program: quality assurance laboratory

Technical Services and Expert Guidance

The Quality Assurance Laboratory provides technical services and expert guidance that both support and augment the Quality Assurance programs established by NAPS operating agencies. This laboratory certifies and supplies gas mixtures for calibration of sulphur dioxide, nitric oxide and carbon monoxide monitors throughout the NAPS network; audits, calibrates and certifies agency equipment used to perform these calibrations; and maintains the NAPS program’s reference standards for flow, temperature, and pressure measurement, as well as a Standard Reference Photometer for measurement of ambient-level ozone concentration. Calibration gas component concentrations are certified against internationally-accepted Standard Reference Materials, and traceability of NAPS program reference standards to national standards is maintained on a biennial basis. The certification services provided by the NAPS Quality Assurance laboratory ensure that data collected from NAPS network monitors and samplers are of good and uniform quality, and are traceable to SI base units of measurement. Laboratory staff also plan and coordinate an interagency proficiency testing program for gas concentration measurement, and conduct field audits at NAPS network stations across Canada.  Audits are used to assess the performance of NAPS monitors and samplers against established quality assurance criteria, and to assess NAPS agency conformance to program guidelines for station and monitor siting, station operation, and safety.

Accredited Methods for Trace Measurement Analysis

The Science and Technology Branch analytical laboratories at 335 River Road, Ottawa provide specialized scientific support and undertakes research and development for Environment Canada programs. These S&T labs focus on four main areas: technologies for measuring air pollutants in ambient air and from mobile and stationary sources; analysis of a wide variety of organic and inorganic compounds in diverse samples; assessments and clean-up of contaminated sites; and prevention of and response to pollution emergencies such as oil and chemical spills.

The S&T labs at 335 River Road are accredited as conforming to the ISO/IEC 17025:2005 international standard for laboratory quality assurance. This accreditation is provided through the Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation (Canadian Association for Laboratory Accreditation(CALA)). The current scope of accreditation includes 44 analytical tests documented in 42 separate test methods.

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