Shelter replacement at the Ute 3 air quality monitoring site

The upgraded shelter at the Ute 3 site has supported marked improvement in energy efficiency and temperature stability of the instruments, as well as improved employee safety.
A new shelter was installed by the Southern Ute Air Quality team on January 15, and has been in use for almost four months at the Ute 3 station.
Courtesy Naomi Begay | Air Quality Program
Courtesy Naomi Begay | Air Quality Program

On Jan. 15, the SUIT Air Quality Program staff all gathered on the rim of the Animas Valley, near Bondad, Colo. On that biting winter morning, and after much careful planning and coordination, a new air quality monitoring station shelter was installed, outfitted, and customized to accommodate the comprehensive suite of instruments housed at the station.

One of three SUIT ambient air quality monitoring stations, the Ute 3 air quality monitoring station has been in operation since July 1, 1997 and has been strategically positioned to help inform regional air quality and transport of air pollution along the Animas River Valley.  This station supports the careful continuous measurement of pollutants with great importance to human and environmental health, including: ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), as well as a meteorological tower with temperature, wind speed, wind direction, humidity and solar radiation sensors.  Recently the station was additionally equipped with a methane and total non-methane hydrocarbon instrument to help inform temporal trends of these species, as well as spatial trends relative to the station located at Lake Capote.

The Ute 3 station has been monitoring air quality and meteorological conditions for almost 22 years.  Thankfully, an EPA grant allowed the Air Monitoring Team to invest in a new shelter to house the instruments at the Ute 3 station.  The new shelter was installed on January 15, 2019 and has been in use for almost four months.  The new shelter has supported marked improvement in energy efficiency and temperature stability of the instruments at the Ute 3 station, as well as improved employee safety during routine operations and maintenance activities.

The goal of the Air Quality Program (AQP) is to protect the health of Southern Ute tribal members and residents on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.  To further enhance tribal member and resident access to real time information on air quality conditions within the Reservation, data is available to the public in near real-time on the tribal website:  https://www.southernute-nsn.gov/justice-and-regulatory/epd/air-quality/ambient-monitoring/ and the EPA’s AirNow website.

Ambient air monitoring data collected from these stations are also reported to the EPA Air Quality System for comparison to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for criteria pollutants.

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