Smoke stacks in the Heartland.. what are they releasing into the air we breath?
Generally, it's just steam.
"When you see a large plume coming out of a facility, that's something you don't need to worry about because it's probably just steam," said Lyle Trytten, director of sustainability and regulatory affairs at Sherritt's site. "It's what you don't see, that is what actually gets you."
Examples he gave included the exhaust from vehicles and other pollutants.
"Larger facilities draw attention due to the fact that they're large but that doesn't mean they're large polluters."
Trytten emphasized that despite environmental groups saying industry is bad, Alberta's Industrial Heartland has been quite responsible in ensuring area residents have a clean environment.
"These things need to be taken into context of what it really means," he explained. "When you compare the quality of the environment here in Alberta compared to some of the other industrialized regions around the world, California, New York, I think most people, looking around, would agree that we have it pretty good and that we're doing a pretty good job."
Fort Air Partnership has nine air quality monitoring stations around the region and the majority of the time, the air is categorized in the low risk area.