Today we’re investigating the Annual Air Quality Reports found on the MA DEP website for 2010, 2009 & 2008, looking at the data for fine particulate matter—the stuff that, combining w/other pollutants, makes smog. (Data charts are below.)
We’ll look at PM 2.5: particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less. This stuff is bad for us to incorporate (ie, breathe)! If you have asthma, bronchitis, or heart problems, it brings on attacks.
The EPA sets an annual limit of 15 ug/m3 (averaged over 3 yrs) and daily limit of 35 ug/m3 (calculated by taking the 98th% highest daily average). These measurements are not, for the average person, user-friendly; which is why we have professional regulators, right?
In 2010, Springfield (@ Liberty St.) had a annual average of 9.24 ug/m3, 2nd highest in the state. Its 98th% highest daily average was 25.8 ug/m3.
In 2009, Springfield had a annual average of 9.4 ug/m3, 2nd highest in the state. Its 98th% highest daily average was 26.8 ug/m3.
In 2008, Springfield had a annual average of 10.78 ug/m3. Its 98th% highest daily average was 28.4 ug/m3, highest in the state.
In these years, the EPA found no violation of the PM 2.5 levels in Springfield. However, as yesterday’s post showed, PM 2.5 levels often soar on any given day, and if you’re breathing deeply when they do, the averages mean nothing. One day in 2008, a level of 200 ug/m3 was measured!!
Consider, though, that the EPA is reviewing permits for the proposed Pioneer Valley Energy Center in Westfield, and biomass-burning electrical generators in Russell, Springfield and Greenfield all at once. I will consider this situation soon; but tomorrow we will look at how the EPA regulates ozone, and how ozoney Amherst is.
- If Springfield’s air is already polluted, how can the EPA permit more new air pollution?
- Using EPA & MA DEP data & reports to understand our air quality
- Consider: a new oil & natural gas burning electricity-generating plant in Westfield
- Transgenic DNA from GMOs in Chinese Rivers—why is it suddenly there?
- why our survival depends on wild thinking