State adds air quality monitoring station

Shortly after WyoFile published a special report, Pristine to Polluted, on May 17, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality announced the installation and operation of a new air quality monitoring station as part of its overall monitoring efforts.

DEQ now has 13 stations that sample air quality in western Wyoming.

The new station is located south of Rock Springs in the Hiawatha Gas Field, and will provide data to help DEQ assess ambient air quality — information that is currently lacking as regulatory agencies attempt to meet current and future air quality challenges amid large scale development of natural gas.

This camera is part of Wyoming DEQ's air quality monitoring network in western Wyoming. (Courtesy – click to enlarge)

One interesting aspect of the monitoring station is the fact that it is powered by wind and solar — a necessity due to the challenge of connecting to the grid.

“This is our first monitoring station that is not run on line power,” said Cara Keslar, DEQ Air Quality Division monitoring section supervisor. “One of the biggest challenges in siting long-term monitoring stations are the siting agreements and power supply. This technology could open new possibilities for monitoring in remote locations.”

The monitoring station will measure ozone, temperature, wind speed, wind direction, precipitation, relative humidity, and solar radiation, according to DEQ. The station will also include scene monitoring for possible use in visibility studies.

According to Keslar, this monitoring station cost around $190,000, with EPA funding about 74 percent of the project. Annual maintenance of the site is expected to cost about $30,000.

Real-time monitored data, including meteorological data, can be found at www.wyvisnet.com. Here’s a breakdown of Wyoming DEQ’s air quality monitoring network in the western portion of the state:

— 10 continuous gaseous/particulate monitoring stations (displayed on wyvisnet)
— 3 camera-only stations (displayed on wyvisnet)
— 3 other particulate monitoring locations (Jackson, Pinedale, and Rock Springs) that collect data on EPA’s 1-in-3 day national schedule (not displayed on wyvisnet)
— 1 meteorological tower at Farson (not displayed on wyvisnet)

— Contact Dustin Bleizeffer at 307-577-6069 or dustin@wyofile.com.

Dustin Bleizeffer

Dustin Bleizeffer is a Report for America Corps member covering energy and climate at WyoFile. He has worked as a coal miner, an oilfield mechanic, and for 22 years as a statewide reporter and editor primarily...

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