Air Quality Tracking
Iowa Air Monitoring Network
The DNR Ambient Air Monitoring group organizes and plans air monitoring activities within the State of Iowa. The DNR works with EPA Region 7 and the Local Programs in Polk and Linn counties to develop an annual Ambient Air Monitoring Network Plan . This plan reviews federal monitoring requirements, identifies all monitoring sites and pollutants monitored in the network, and any proposed changes to the network.
The DNR contracts with the State Hygienic Laboratory and the Polk and Linn County Local Programs to collect air monitoring data, quality assure the results, and report the data to the public. Current air quality can be accessed from the DNR website .
The DNR also tracks exceedances of NAAQS and maintains an exceedance report that includes the pollutant, monitor site, exceedance date, pollutant concentration, and the AQI value. For additional information on the DNR’s monitoring network and data visit the website.
The Clean Air Act
In 1970, the Clean Air Act was signed into law. Under this law, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets limits on how much of a pollutant can be in the air anywhere in the United States. The goal of these limits is to help ensure that all Americans have the same basic health and environmental protections. The law has been amended several times as new information has emerged.
Under the Clean Air Act, EPA has established standards or limits for six air pollutants, known as the criteria air pollutants:
- carbon monoxide (CO),
- lead (Pb),
- nitrogen dioxide (NO2),
- sulfur dioxide (SO2),
- ozone (O3), and
- particulate matter (PM).
These standards, called the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), help protect public health and the environment.
The Clean Air Act established two types of air quality standards:
- primary standards set limits to protect public health, including the health of sensitive populations such as people with asthma, children, and the elderly.
- secondary standards set limits to protect public welfare, including protection against damage to animals, crops, other plants, visibility, and buildings.
The Clean Air Act requires states to develop State Implementation Plans. These plans outline the regulations, programs, and policies that a state will use to clean up polluted areas in order to meet air quality standards.