County air quality samples show favorable results |

County air quality samples show favorable results

Garfield County is consistently below the national standards for ozone, and annual averages of most volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants continue to decline, according to the latest results from the county’s air quality monitoring program.

County Environmental Health Specialist Morgan Hill reported results from the county’s annual air quality study to the county commissioners on Monday.

“We are consistently below the new standard in ozone,” Hill said.

She added the county is not at risk of going above standard in ozone.

Ozone is a pollutant that is not emitted directly, but formed through chemical reactions, Hill explained. Nitrogen oxides and VOCs are considered ozone precursors.

The 2017 report looked for criteria air pollutants, specific pollutants regulated by EPA that are considered harmful to humans and the environment, as well as hazardous air pollutants.

Monitoring site locations are in Rifle, Parachute, Bell Ranch near Silt, Carbondale, Battlement Mesa and Glenwood Springs. Some have been in operation since 2008.

Over the years since the program started, ozone measurements in Garfield County have shown to be well below U.S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards, even despite stricter EPA standards which began in 2015.

Data shows that while most of southern California would fail the new standard based on data from 2015 to 2017, that is not the case for Garfield County.

Hill added that the data collected through 2017 continue to show no NAAQS violations. Many of the VOC and HAP decreases are statistically significant, according to Hill.

For those looking for more information, the 2017 report will be available on the Garfield County Public Health website by the end of June, she said.

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