March 2, 2012 [Maricopa County]-The Maricopa County Air Quality Department’s Rapid Response Notification System recently expanded its network to include the agency’s Tempe monitoring station.
The Rapid Response Notification System was developed in 2011 to provide an immediate alert the moment the Maricopa County air monitoring network detected elevated levels of particulate matter [PM-10] pollution. Once an alert is sent, the department seeks the help of regulatory agencies, businesses, residents and local cities and towns to stop the pollution problem. The goal for the program is to prevent exceedances of the federal health standard for PM-10 pollution and maintain clean air for the residents and visitors of Maricopa County.
The region of Maricopa County is currently classified as “serious non-attainment” for PM-10, or particulate matter ten microns or less in size, pollution. This means our air quality is not meeting federal health limits. While we live in a desert, human caused pollution activity like leaf blower use, off-highway vehicle activity, construction, sand and gravel mining and general driving help to create dust pollution challenges in our air.
To date, the department believes two exceedances of the federal health standard have been prevented due to Rapid Response intervention.
Sign up for a Rapid Response email or text message alert online at www.maricopa.gov/aq. Fourteen of the department’s monitors measuring coarse particulate matter [PM-10] are currently available for this service. Funding for the initial air monitoring notification network upgrade was provided by the Maricopa Association of Governments.
About Maricopa County Air Quality Department
The Maricopa County Air Quality Department is a regulatory agency whose goal is to ensure federal clean air standards are achieved and maintained for the residents and visitors of Maricopa County. The department is governed by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and follows air quality standards set forth by the federal Clean Air Act.
The department offers air quality information and resources on its Clean Air Make More website. Visit www.CleanAirMakeMore.com to learn more.
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PARTICULATE MATTER BACKGROUND: State and county agencies measure PM-10 and PM-2.5 which are extremely small solid particles and liquid droplets found circulating in the air. PM, or particulate matter, comes from either combustion (cars, industry, woodburning) or dust stirred up into the air. High levels of PM are typically created when the air is especially stagnant or especially windy.
PM-10 stands for particulate matter measuring 10 microns or less. PM-2.5 stands for particulate matter measuring 2.5 microns or less. To put this in perspective, one strand of human hair is 70-100 microns in size.