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EPA Awards Over $300,000 Grant for Oregon Air Quality Monitoring

The agency that maintains Oregon's air quality monitors just received an investment from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Posted: Aug 7, 2018 5:45 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Those in Southern Oregon who frequently check air quality readings due to unhealthy levels of lingering smoke may be pleased to learn that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) which operates many of those monitoring stations just received a $314,375 investment from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

According to the EPA, the grant is specifically intended to help support the DEQ's air monitoring programs, maintaining the state's monitoring network for hazardous air pollutants. The DEQ also works to reduce emissions of hazardous air pollutants and enforces air regulations in the state.

Pollutants Levels Drop Between 1970 and 2017 (from the EPA)

  • Sulfur dioxide (1-hour) - ↓ 88%
  • Lead (3-month average) - ↓ 80%
  • Carbon monoxide (8-hour) - ↓ 77%
  • Nitrogen dioxide (annual) - ↓  56%
  • Fine Particulate Matter (24-hour) - ↓ 40%
  • Coarse Particulate Matter (24-hour) - ↓ 34%
  • Ground-level ozone (8-hour) - ↓ 22%

“EPA and our regulatory partners at the state and local level have taken significant steps to dramatically reduce hazardous air pollutants and provide important health protections,” said EPA Regional Administrator Chris Hladick. “This grant helps further protect our communities and gives us a better understanding of the air pollution sources that may be affecting Oregon’s local air quality.”

There are currently 187 hazardous air pollutants, or "air toxics," regulated under the Clean Air Act that have been associated with a wide variety of adverse health effects, including cancer and neurological effects. These air toxics come from multiple sources—including major stationary, area, and mobile sources, resulting in community exposure to these pollutants.

The National Air Toxics Trends Station program was developed to fulfill the need for long-term hazardous air pollutants monitoring data of consistent quality. These sites are part of a 27-site national network of air pollution monitoring stations. The primary purpose of the network is tracking trends in ambient air pollutant levels to help measure progress toward reducing emissions and health risks.

DEQ is currently operating two of these National Air Toxics Trends monitoring sites in Oregon. One station is in La Grande (a rural site) and the other is in Portland (an urban site). EPA grant funding supports the activities of DEQ in the operation of these two sites. EPA has provided grant funding to support DEQ’s air quality monitoring program for more than a decade.

“EPA’s grant will support our ability to make science-based decisions, which is the cornerstone of our work and critical for advancing healthy communities and economic progress in Oregon,” said DEQ Director Richard Whitman. “Our progress is most effectively achieved with support from our federal partners and work with local communities to meet regulatory standards."

According to the EPA's most recent air trends report, the combined emissions of six major pollutants dropped by 73 percent between 1970 and 2017. The EPA also claims that average concentrations of many pollutants decreased significantly between 1990 and 2017 [see sidebar for more details].

The Clean Air Act was established to lower levels of six common pollutants—particles, ozone, lead, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide—and toxic pollutants. The gathering of data on actual conditions is key to both state and local clean air programs.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32581

Reported Deaths: 542
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah7113137
Marion465894
Washington449760
Umatilla296241
Clackamas239861
Malheur161723
Lane118517
Jackson11395
Deschutes82512
Yamhill75713
Jefferson5298
Polk52915
Linn51913
Morrow4986
Lincoln48113
Union4462
Benton3106
Wasco2893
Klamath2802
Hood River2510
Douglas2274
Clatsop2040
Josephine1982
Columbia1651
Coos1560
Baker942
Crook621
Tillamook520
Lake320
Curry310
Wallowa301
Sherman180
Harney120
Grant90
Gilliam80
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 807451

Reported Deaths: 15583
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2669886504
Riverside581781189
San Bernardino54386925
Orange530691214
San Diego46331775
Kern31865367
Fresno28199382
Sacramento22183406
Alameda21136406
Santa Clara21030311
San Joaquin20194441
Contra Costa16469205
Stanislaus16452351
Tulare15970263
Ventura12664150
Imperial11835317
San Francisco11076101
San Mateo9843150
Monterey980771
Santa Barbara9037113
Merced8872142
Kings763177
Sonoma7369122
Marin6694117
Solano630963
Madera448165
Placer356745
San Luis Obispo354429
Butte281944
Yolo279555
Santa Cruz23309
Sutter170511
Napa166913
San Benito134011
Yuba11537
El Dorado11094
Mendocino90818
Shasta80617
Lassen7400
Glenn5783
Tehama5465
Lake53911
Nevada5337
Colusa5296
Humboldt5017
Calaveras31714
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
Siskiyou1650
Del Norte1391
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
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