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The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Air Quality Monitoring and Planning Program deployed a new air monitoring site in 2004 to track the impact of interstate pollutant transport on air quality in Maryland. Currently, Maryland does not meet the EPA National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for annual particulate measures due to pollutant transport from upwind states. The PM Fine, (Particulate Matter at under 2.5 microns.) 8-hour ozone, and 1-hour ozone are all measured to meet this standard. Consequently, the monitoring focus will be on PM2.5 which contributes to regional haze, ozone, and their respective data regarding the makeup and properties of air pollutants.
Continuous Air Quality Data
The new site, called “Piney Run” will provide a continuous time series of air quality data. It is a collaborative effort with the Appalachian Laboratory, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and the Northeast States Center for a Clean Air Future (NESCAUM). The location is unique for measuring regional background pollutant loads because it is a high elevation, western boundary location in rural Maryland.
“Air pollution transported across political boundaries is important to state and local agencies not only because of public health concerns, but also because of the economic implications,” said
Tom Snyder, Air Director at MDE. Among Mid-Atlantic state-run monitoring sites, Piney Run is a novel site because it was established not only for measuring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) NAAQS pollutants, but also to gain further understanding of regional air quality episodes and interstate pollutant transport.
Piney Run will also focus on haze-related measurements as part of the Rural Aerosol Intensive Network (RAIN) deployed in spring 2004 by state agencies in the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Visibility Union (MANE-VU). Results from Piney Run will address interstate transport and to develop future Maryland State Implementation Plans for ozone, PM2.5, and regional haze.
MDE placed additional air monitoring instruments further west in the state in an effort to better understand the upwind characteristics of air as it is transported into Maryland via the predominant winds blowing from west to east.
Most of Maryland’s air monitoring stations provide ambient air samples near large metropolitan areas, medium sized cities, and along major transportation routes. While this approach effectively monitors ambient air, it has limited potential for learning about interstate air pollution transport.
The team of Matthew G. Seybold, Christopher D. Smith, David J. Krask, and Michael F. Woodman of the Maryland Department of the Environment, George Allen of NESCAUM, and Mark Castro and, Janine McKnight of the Appalachian Laboratory contributed to the Piney Run project.
“Maryland is experiencing economic inequality, as regulations are in place within the state to control air pollution, but overall air quality does not improve due to an overwhelming out of state influence. To reach an optimal balance of comparable emission controls among all states, the out of state regional influence must be objectively understood on an ongoing basis,” said Dave Krask, Chief of Air Monitoring Programs at MDE.