November 5, 2012 [Maricopa County]-The Maricopa County Air Quality Department’s Rapid Response Notification System has expanded its network to include the agency’s Mesa monitoring station, bringing the total number of sites in the program to sixteen.
The Rapid Response Notification System was developed in 2011 to provide an immediate alert (via email or text message) when a Maricopa County air monitor detects elevated levels of particulate matter (PM-10) pollution. By sending these alerts, the department seeks the help of other regulatory agencies, businesses, residents and local cities and towns to help identify potential causes of the elevated PM-10 levels, and take actions to reduce them.
The goal of the program is to prevent exceedances of the federal health standard for PM-10 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. This means our air quality is not meeting federal health standards. While we live in a desert, human caused pollution activity such as off-highway vehicles, leaf blowers, sand and gravel mining, and construction contribute to the dust pollution in our air.
Those interested in receiving future alerts for one or more of the participating monitoring stations may sign up to receive Rapid Response email or text message alerts at www.maricopa.gov/aq. Sixteen 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.
PARTICULATE MATTER BACKGROUND: State and county agencies monitor 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 (vehicles, industry, woodburning) or dust stirred up into the air. High levels of PM are typically created when the air is either extremely stagnant or especially windy.
“PM-10” denotes particulate matter measuring 10 microns or less, while “PM-2.5” refers to particulate matter measuring 2.5 microns or less. To put these measurements in perspective, one strand of human hair is 70-100 microns in size.
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 implements 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.