Grand Forks hires Andrews to measure air quality with nephelometer

Grand Forks native and UBC student Jordan Andrews will work for the city this summer, measuring air quality with a nephelometer.

UBC student and Grand Forks native Jordan Andrews has been hired by the City of Grand Forks to conduct air quality studies with a nephelometer (measures particulate matter in the air) over the summer.

UBC student and Grand Forks native Jordan Andrews has been hired by the City of Grand Forks to conduct air quality studies with a nephelometer (measures particulate matter in the air) over the summer.



The City of Grand Forks has hired a post-secondary student for the summer to study air quality in the Grand Forks air shed.

UBC student and physics major Jordan Andrews, who is from Grand Forks originally, will be driving around the air shed in a hybrid vehicle to measure air quality with the use of a nephelometer, an instrument that measures particulate matter in the air.

“Jordan’s going to be running around the valley and we’re going to be doing four days a week of sampling throughout the air shed,” said Wayne Kopan, city manager of environmental and building construction services.

“We’re hoping if we can set up at the Farmers’ Market, to do weekly testing at the market to see how the traffic on Central Avenue affects the air quality and at the end of the day, see where our heaviest concentrations are and what the sources are.”

Andrews admitted to not knowing a lot about nephelometers before being hired but has gotten up to speed as he went to the University of Victoria (UVic) for some training – the university is also loaning the nephelometer to the city.

“I spent about seven hours there with Dr. Eleanor Setton and she showed me what it was, how to use it. We went over how to get the laptop ready, we went for a drive around Victoria, she showed me how to put everything together and maps together,” said Andrews.

In his short time with the nephelometer, Andrews said he’s learned a few things about the air quality.

“Grand Forks doesn’t have the greatest air. Considering how many people live here, it should be better. It’s due to the fact that we’re in a ‘bowl,’ more of a valley, and the air can settle around here and I’m just doing my best to find out why it’s higher than it should be,” he said.

“I think (over the summer) we’re going to see where the biggest sources of particulate matter are going to be. I think we’re going to be surprised to see it might not be Roxul, like a lot of people think, and that farms are going to have a big impact and it might not be what you can see that’s causing a lot of the problems,” Andrews explained. “The stuff we’re looking for is not visible, that’s why it’s so bad for you.”

The city says that once the study is completed, the data will help the city’s environment committee decide on what the city can do to maintain acceptable air quality.

Andrews is employed through a Canada Summer Jobs grant.