BATON ROUGE – In the wake of Hurricane Laura, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) has deployed two Mobile Air Monitoring Labs (MAML) and staff to Calcasieu Parish to support air monitoring efforts in the area, according to a release from the LDEQ. The monitoring data from the MAMLs is now available, real-time on the LDEQ website. While the monitoring systems remained intact through the storm, only one of the five monitoring sites LDEQ operates in the area sustained minor damage. Once the power is restored, the five stationary sites will be fully operational.
In the meantime, the MAMLs will allow LDEQ to sample and analyze air quality data on-site and in real-time.
The vehicles are mounted on a 35-foot truck chassis with a custom body to house equipment, supplies and work gear with benches. They house gas chromatographs, reduced sulfur compounds analyzers, methane/nonmethane analyzers, and much more.
According to LDEQ, MAMLs can test for all criteria pollutants — ground-level ozone, particle pollution, lead, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, as well as hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), methane, ammonia, speciated reduced sulfur compounds, speciated hydrocarbons and atmospheric mercury.
The data currently being collected is now available online via the following steps:
1. Visit the Air Monitoring and Data site at https://airquality.deq.louisiana.gov/.
2. Under the Current AQI Data heading, choose either Mobile Air Monitoring Lab #1 or #2 in the ‘By Site’ drop-down menu. Click ‘Go.’
3. The information populated will indicate the reading, according to the Air Quality Index, for Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5 and Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)).
The MAMLs monitor more than PM2.5* and Sulphur Dioxide. To see the comprehensive data for each MAML, take the following steps:
1. On the Air Monitoring and Data site, https://airquality.deq.louisiana.gov/, click ‘Site Data’ in the menu header.
2. Select either Mobile Air Monitoring Lab #1 or #2 in the ‘Site’ drop-down menu and enter the specified date into the ‘Date’ box.
3. The current data, hour by hour, will populate. *Please note: The data has not been quality reviewed or validated. Continuous PM2.5 readings shown are not NAAQS comparable.
Corresponding screenshots for the step-by-step process can be found at https://bit.ly/3lLyQfm.
“We are glad to use the MAMLs to monitor ambient air quality while our ambient air-monitoring network is out of power. This is not the MAMLs’ intended use, but they can do the job. We hope to have our monitoring system back up and running soon. Like so many others in the storm impact zone, we are awaiting the restoration of electric power,” LDEQ Secretary Dr. Chuck Brown said.
Please remember to use the Air Quality Index when looking at the data for ozone, PM 2.5 or SO2. The Air Quality Index, or AQI, is EPA’s tool for communicating daily air quality. It uses color-coded categories and provides statements for each category that tell you about air quality in your area, which groups of people may be affected, and steps you can take to reduce your exposure to air pollution.
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