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DAQ Recommends Shutting Down Air Quality Monitor in Boone, Public Comment Ends Today

By Jesse Wood

An air pollution monitoring station located at Hardin Park School in Boone is among several monitors across the state that the N.C. Division of Air Quality recommends shutting down at the end of 2015.

The proposed annual network plan is subject to a 30-day public review period prior to being submitted to EPA for approval. The public comment deadline ends today.

MonitorThe site, which monitors fine particles, was established in 1999. In a monitoring network plan, the N.C. Division of Air Quality stated that fine particle concentrations in the state have drastically declined since the passage of North Carolina’s Clean Smokestacks Act in 2002, “this site is no longer necessary to have a background monitor in the mountains.”

“Under the act, coal-burning power plants were required to reduce their nitrogen oxide emissions by 77 percent by 2009 and sulfur dioxide emissions by 73 percent in 2013. Those significant emissions reductions have been achieved, and we are seeing the benefits in cleaner air – concentrations of ozone and fine particles are at the lowest levels ever measured in North Carolina,” according to a notice from the DAQ.

The state department has a network of more than 90 monitors at more than 49 sites and measures a number of pollutants in the outdoor air including ozone, lead, fine particles, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide.

The DAQ noted that it has been shifting its point of emphasis for monitoring since last year towards sulfur dioxide because of the potential for shale gas development in the state.

“Every year the monitoring network is re-evaluated and adjusted to ensure it is providing adequate coverage. In most years these adjustments include starting new monitors, shutting down others, or simply relocating established monitors,” DAQ notice stated.

The monitors recommended to be shut down include:

Fine particles (PM2.5), after December 31, 2015

  • Boone (Watauga County)
  • Cherry Grove (Caswell Co.)
  • Dillard (Wayne Co.)
  • Hopedale (Alamance Co.)
  • Jamesville (Martin Co.)
  • Kenansville (Duplin Co.)
  • Marion (McDowell Co.)
  • Rockwell (Rowan Co.)
  • Waynesville (Haywood Co.)

Ozone, after October 31, 2015

  • Fuquay (Wake Co.)
  • Franklinton (Franklin Co.)
  • Pittsboro (Chatham Co.)