Air Quality

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Air Quality

Summary:

Exposure to increased air pollution can cause a number of negative health impacts, particularly for our most vulnerable populations of children and elderly.  With real time polution information the public has the opportunity to make smart decisions regarding their activity and take an active role in protecting their health.   Montana has a difficult air quality landscape to navigate with wildfires making up the vast majority of significant air pollution events across the state.  Wildfires will almost certainly impact air quality in Montana each summer, yet are impossible to know where and when they will occur until the fires are ignited.  During these events it is critical the public make smart decisions to limit their exposure to dangerous pollution levels.

Specifications:

  • Users will be able to view a map of Montana indicating the locations of the 17 air quality monitors and the most recent 1-hour air quality for the selected pollutant. 
  • User will be able to select any station from the map and get further information about that station.
  • Users will be able to select a city on the map and get a report of the previous eight hours of air quality data for the city.
  • Users will be able to select a health category and review the health effects of the category.
  • Users will be able to submit feedback via email to DEQ-ARMB-Admin@mt.gov.

The State of Montana measures ambient concentrations of Particulate Matter (PM), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulfur Dioxide (SOx), Ozone, and Carbon Monoxide (CO). For Particulate Matter, the state measures concentrations of both PM10, and PM2.5. The following list outlines additional calculations/considerations that should be implemented during the development process.

1)Time Conversion – The time reported in the data portal needs to be converted to local time for the mobile app.

  1. All times reported represent the hour ending for the measurement. For example, a time of 1am represents measured concentrations between 12am and 1am.
  2. Data downloaded from the data portal is presented in coordinated universal time (UTC) with an offset equal to zero.
    1. Note: The data is displayed in the data portal as local time with the appropriate UTC offset.
  1. Null Values – Occasionally the air quality monitors do not record a concentration due to required maintenance, power failure, etc. The associated hour is handled by placing a two letter code in place of the concentration in the Data Portal. The app developers should remove any data that is text (non-numerical) data (i.e., “AV”). Display the removed data as an unknown concentration.
  2. Averaging Values – The color coded health effect categories are based on time-averaged data. Different pollutants have different averaging periods. The following averages should be calculated each hour:
    1. Averaging times and pollutants:
      1. 24-hour values for PM2.5 and PM10: Average of previous 24 hourly values.
      2. 8-hour values for PM2.5, Ozone, and CO: Average of previous 8 hourly values.
      3. 1-hour values for PM2.5, NOx, and SOx: Raw data used as is.
    2. Before calculating the average, null values must be removed. Once removed, at least 75% of the hourly calculations must be valid to calculate an average. For example, 18 of 24 values must be valid to calculate a 24-hour average. If too many values are invalid, the average value should be displayed as an unknown concentration.
  3. Select Health Effect Methodology. Health effect categories are represented by a color indicating the severity of the air quality. The scale ranges from green (good air quality) up to maroon (hazardous air quality). There are two different methodologies for developing the health effect categories to display. The Today’s Air methodology is focused on the specific air quality issues facing Montana while the AQI method is a more comprehensive air quality approach.
    1. Today’s Air Methodology: This methodology uses the guidelines used on the State of Montana’s Today’s Air website (TodaysAir.mt.gov). The method is as follows:
      1. Determine the health effect category associated with the 1-,8-, and 24-hour averaging period (Breakpoints can be found here: http://www.deq.mt.gov/FireUpdates/BreakpointsRevised.mcpx)
        1. Today’s Air 1-hour Breakpoints:
          1. Good (Green): < 33.5 µg/m3
          2. Moderate (Yellow): 33.6 – 51.0 µg/m3
          3. Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Orange): 51.1 – 88.5 µg/m3
          4. Unhealthy (Red): 88.6 – 201.0 µg/m3
          5. Very Unhealthy (Purple): 201.1 – 338.5 µg/m3
          6. Hazardous (Maroon): >338.5 µg/m3
        2. Today’s Air 8-hour Average Concentration Breakpoints:
          1. Good (Green): <19.1 µg/m3
          2. Moderate (Yellow): 19.2 – 29.1 µg/m3
          3. Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Orange): 29.2 – 50.6 µg/m3
          4. Unhealthy (Red): 50.7 – 114.9 µg/m3
          5. Very Unhealthy (Purple): 115.0 – 193.4 µg/m3
          6. Hazardous (Maroon): >193.4 µg/m3
        3. Today’s Air 24-hour Average Concentration Breakpoints:
          1. Good (Green): <13.4 µg/m3
          2. Moderate (Yellow): 13.5 – 20.4 µg/m3
          3. Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Orange): 20.5 – 35.4 µg/m3
          4. Unhealthy (Red): 35.5 – 80.4 µg/m3
          5. Very Unhealthy (Purple): 80.5 – 135.4 µg/m3
          6. Hazardous (Maroon): >135.4 µg/m3
      2. If the hourly concentration is less than, or equal to 15 µg/m3, then display the 1-hour health effect category
      3. If the hourly concentration is greater than, 15 µg/m3 then display the highest of the three health effect categories.
      4. For example, a 1-hour concentration of 10 would be displayed as green regardless of the 8- and 24-hour values, but an hourly concentration of 16 µg/m3 with a 24-hour value of 22 µg/m3 and 8-hour of 20 µg/m3 would be displayed as orange.
    2. Air Quality Index (AQI) Methodology: This methodology follows the Environmental Protection Agency’s guidelines for the AQI and calculates a health effect category for the criteria pollutants listed below. The color displayed represents the worst health effect category across all pollutants. The methodology is as follows:
      1. Determine the health effect category for each pollutant based on the following averaging time and breakpoints:
        1. PM2.5 (24-hour average)
          1. Good (Green): <12.0 µg/m3
          2. Moderate (Yellow): 12.1 – 35.4 µg/m3
          3. Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Orange): 35.5 – 55.4 µg/m3
          4. Unhealthy (Red): 55.5 – 150.4 µg/m3
          5. Very Unhealthy (Purple): 150.5 – 250.4 µg/m3
          6. Hazardous (Maroon): >250.5 µg/m3
        2. PM10 (24-hour average)
          1. Good (Green): <54 µg/m3
          2. Moderate (Yellow): 55 – 154 µg/m3
          3. Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Orange): 155 – 254 µg/m3
          4. Unhealthy (Red): 255 – 354 µg/m3
          5. Very Unhealthy (Purple): 355 – 424 µg/m3
          6. Hazardous (Maroon): >425 µg/m3
        3. Ozone (8-hour average)
          1. Good (Green): <0.059 ppm
          2. Moderate (Yellow): 0.060 – 0.075 ppm
          3. Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Orange): 0.076 – 0.095 ppm
          4. Unhealthy (Red): 0.096 – 0.115 ppm
          5. Very Unhealthy (Purple): 0.116 – 0.374 ppm
          6. Hazardous (Maroon): >0.375 ppm
        4. CO (8-hour average)
          1. Good (Green): <4.4 ppm
          2. Moderate (Yellow): 4.5– 9.4 ppm
          3. Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Orange): 9.5 – 12.4 ppm
          4. Unhealthy (Red): 12.5 – 15.4 ppm
          5. Very Unhealthy (Purple): 15.5 – 30.4 ppm
          6. Hazardous (Maroon): >30.5 ppm
        5. SOx (1-hour)
          1. Good (Green): <35 ppb
          2. Moderate (Yellow): 36– 75 ppb
          3. Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Orange): 76 – 185 ppb
          4. Unhealthy (Red): 186 – 304 ppb
          5. Very Unhealthy (Purple): 305– 604 ppb
          6. Hazardous (Maroon): >605 ppb
        6. NOx (1-hour)
          1. Good (Green): <53 ppb
          2. Moderate (Yellow): 54– 100 ppb
          3. Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Orange): 101 – 360 ppb
          4. Unhealthy (Red): 361 – 649 ppb
          5. Very Unhealthy (Purple): 650– 1249 ppb
          6. Hazardous (Maroon): >1250 ppb
      2. Display the worst category color. For example, if the 24-hour PM2.5 average is orange and all other pollutants are green, the map should display orange.
      3. The AQI can also be reported as a normalized index value for each pollutant. For more information on this index see the documentation here: http://www.epa.gov/airnow/aqi-technical-assistance-document-sep2012.pdf. Note that the 24-hour PM2.5 values have been revised and the new breakpoints are here: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/particlepollution/2012/decfsstandards.pdf. This index value may not be necessary depending on the design of the app.

Data Source:

This application will use the Socrata API to access this dataset for air quality data.