The Air Quality Program (AQP) has recently increased the accessibility of current ambient air quality conditions for Tribal Members and residents of the Reservation. By obtaining Tribal Council approval to provide data submissions to the EPA’s AirNow website on October 6, 2015, the air quality monitoring data collected at the Southern Ute Indian Tribes’ two air monitoring stations are submitted to AirNow and Air Quality Index (AQI) information is available to the public. In addition to providing monitoring data to AirNow, the AQP monitoring website is updated to inform Tribal Members and Reservation residents of real-time meteorological conditions, ambient pollutant concentrations and AQI conditions (Ambient Monitoring).
The AirNow site obtains the Tribes ambient air monitoring data and compiles this data into current AQI, daily AQI, and an AQI forecast value for the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. The AQI information reported is a representation of how clean or polluted the ambient air is and what health concerns you may experience within certain time frames after breathing polluted air.
The AQI is calculated for five different pollutants that are regulated by the Clean Air Act. The five include: ground level ozone, particulate pollution, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Airborne particulates and ground level ozone are the two regulated pollutants that pose the greatest threat to health in the U.S.
The AQI runs on a numerical scale from 0-500. The higher the AQI value the larger the amount of air pollution is being detected, along with a higher risk of health concerns. Anything below an AQI level of 100 is considered satisfactory with low health risks, while above 100 the air quality is considered unhealthy and continues to gain risk as the values increase.
The purpose of the AQI is to help residents of the Reservation understand what local air quality means to their health. The AQI is divided into six categories:
Air Quality Index Levels of Health Concern Numerical Value Meaning Good 0 to 50 Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk Moderate 51 to 100 Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution. Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 101 to 150 Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected. Unhealthy 151 to 200 Everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Very Unhealthy 201 to 300 Health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected. Hazardous 301 to 500 Health alert: everyone may experience more serious health effects
When connected to the Air-Now website tribal members and residents of the Reservation will be able to follow the links to a current AQI value and color code specifically for the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.
To find current AQI information, tribal members and area residents can visit the Air Quality Program website and follow the links at: http://www.southernute-nsn.gov/environmental-programs/air-quality/ambient-monitoring/ or, simply go to the direct link at: http://www.airnow.gov/ and select Colorado or enter a zip code.
AirNow also offers a mobile app that can be downloaded on smart phones and other mobile devices.