DEQ sets up booth at the Governance Center to present air quality data
June 15, 2018
Gila River Indian News
A booth was setup by the Department of Environmental Quality Air Quality Monitoring Program in the main lobby of the Gila River Indian Community Governance Center on June 6.
Environmental Engineer Leroy Williams Jr., and his team of air quality specialists were on-hand to answer questions about the program and the presentation boards with maps and diagrams of data gathered on the Community’s air quality.
“We report to the Environmental Protection Agency,” said Williams, “It’s a national database that we submit information to.”
The purpose of monitoring the air is to identify any pollutants that are potential risks to human health and the environment.
He said the air quality monitoring program has a network of air monitoring stations throughout the Community that are strategically placed to gather as much data on the quality of the air.
The air monitoring stations collect on particulate matter and the ozone and how natural or man-made sources of pollutants have an impact on the quality of air.
“They are maintained by [us], it’s really resource intensive, where unlike other tribes, they are limited in this ability, because of costs,” said Williams.
The air quality monitoring network has three stations, one is Sacaton, Casa Blanca Community School and Gila Crossing Community School North Campus.
What the monitoring sites do provide, is a trove of data the air quality monitoring program can look through to identify trends in air quality.
This gives them a picture of what changes are going on in the air and whether they are meeting the federal standard.
Williams said, “The Sacaton and Saint John’s sites, they are below the standards, so the last three years we are doing good.”
He said overall the Community has been doing well when it comes to air quality standards on a day to day basis.
Williams added that during the monsoon season the dust storms tend to show an above normal level of dust pollutants in the air, but on the following day the air quality is back to normal.
For the foreseeable future, the air quality monitoring network will continue to collect data, with one slight change, which is the air monitoring site at the Gila Crossing Community School north campus.
In advance of the school’s construction, DEQ is making preparations to move the monitoring station to a new location.