It has come to my attention that the city staff for Broomfield City and County Council is going to be proposing a dramatic cutback in their real-time air quality monitoring station, the Soaring Eagle station. This would be a big mistake, in my opinion, and deserves more public input. This is going to be discussed at the 6pm meeting on Tuesday, December 13, 2022.
I attended a tour this state-of-the art monitoring station on September 23, 2021, given by Detlev Helmig, and wrote this blog post about it: THE BOULDERAIR TOUR ROCKED! The tour was organized by Broomfield Councilperson Laurie Anderson, and was attended other members of the Larimer Alliance, LOGIC, and other local activists and volunteers. It was an in-depth explanation of the sophisticated technology employed, and how it provides vastly better data than other comparable monitoring stations because 1) it is continuous, real-time data, recorded and published literally within minutes of measurement, and 2) it can simultaneously monitor a panel of targeted chemicals at levels far more sensitive than other comparable monitoring technology.
Other canister-based monitors are not real-time, and rely on periodic manual collection — like your neighborhood garbage trucks — to come by and pick up the canisters…which then get shipped to a lab…which then get sampled and processed…and eventually the results are sent back. This means the measurements can be DAYS OLD before they are analyzed; besides which, a canister grabs one, brief, isolated sniff of air out of the constantly blowing and shifting wind. How reliable is such an approach to air quality monitoring? Answer: Not much!
What the Front Range really needs is to have the state offices of CDPHE and its subdepartment, the AQCD, (see their website here) to create an entire array of such monitoring stations for the Front Range, from Fort Collins down to Pueblo, so that we can really know what is in our air. For without precise measurements, we are just flying blind — and policy makers cannot know what air quality policies should be developed and enforced, and where.
What percentage of our ozone precursors are due to vehicles and what percentage are due to O&G operations? Our current knowledge of this is scant; try and find it on the CDPHE/AQCD website….good luck with that! The closest I think you will find are these “air quality index reports”, which are useless for answering these burning questions needed for an accurate policy response.
I urge you to express your opinions about this to the Broomfield City and County Council prior to their meeting on 12/13/22.
To send your comments to the Council, use this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
To watch the Broomfield Council meeting, see here.