Air Quality Awareness Week
Air Quality Awareness Week 2018
April 30th through May 4th is National Air Quality Awareness Week and this year’s theme for the Cowboy State is “Air Quality Where You Are.” Each day, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality will send out an email with an air quality fact about Wyoming and include some resources that residents can use to learn about air quality wherever they are. The Wyoming DEQ Air Division will also be conducting air quality outreach throughout the month of May.
We’re also asking YOU to spread the word! If you are on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, post a picture with the hashtag #leadingtheway that explains why Wyoming’s environment is meaningful to you, or how you are helping to ensure clean air for our great State! We’re all in this together, so help us spread the word!
Air Quality Trends in Wyoming
Air Quality Fact: According to the Environmental Council of States, or ECOS, common outdoor pollutants in Wyoming decreased by 19% between 1997 and 2016, while population grew by almost 20%. There are six common outdoor air pollutants that are regulated by state and federal rules: carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter (PM), sulfur dioxide (SO2), ozone (O3), and lead (Pb).
Resource: To learn more about air pollution in Wyoming you can visit us at http://deq.wyoming.gov/aqd/. There you can read about projects and programs that will reduce pollution in Wyoming even further, such as proposed rules and regulations or the Emission Reduction Pilot Program.
- Wyoming Air Quality Division homepage: http://deq.wyoming.gov/aqd/.
- WDEQ Air Quality Awareness Week page: http://deq.wyoming.gov/aqd/resources/air-quality-awareness-week/
- More information common air pollutants: https://www.epa.gov/criteria-air-pollutants
Preserving Clean Air
Air Quality Fact: Air quality continues to improve in Wyoming, often through community led efforts. There are national standards set by the EPA for certain air pollutants. One of those is particulate matter, or PM for short. In the 1980s, PM measurements exceeded national standards in the City of Sheridan, Wyoming, so it was designated as a nonattainment area. The City of Sheridan brought the air quality back in line with the national standards by 1994, and on April 4, 2018, was officially redesignated.
Resource: Did you know that you can get real time information about air quality in Wyoming through the WDEQ’s Air Quality Monitoring Network at http://www.wyvisnet.com/?
On the home page, you can get information on current levels of ozone (O3), particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and wind speeds.
- WYVISNET homepage: http://www.wyvisnet.com/
- AirNow, ozone basics: https://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=aqibasics.ozone
- EPA, national ozone trends: https://www.epa.gov/air-trends/ozone-trends
Wildfires in Wyoming
Air Quality Fact: In 2017, fires burned a total of 93,015 acres in Wyoming. Fires in surrounding states can also have impacts in Wyoming, as we saw with smoke from fires in Montana, which burned more than one million acres in 2017. Some fires are caused naturally, while others are part of controlled burns meant to maintain the health of national forests.
Resource: The Wyoming Air Quality Division cannot control wildfires, it does have a smoke management program that manages air emissions from large scale controlled burning. More information can be found here: http://deq.wyoming.gov/aqd/smoke-management-and-open-burning/. A great resource to tell where fires are currently burning, whether prescribed burns or wildfires, is InciWeb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/. You can get more information on where fires are currently burning in the U.S., and more detailed information about each fire.
- Wyoming Air Division Smoke Management: http://deq.wyoming.gov/aqd/smoke-management-and-open-burning/
- InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/
- National Interagency Fire Center: https://www.nifc.gov/index.html