Air Quality Monitoring
New York's Program to Track Air Quality
To protect humans and the environment from damage by air pollution, DEC continually measures levels of pollutants in the air. DEC regularly reports the results of these measurements -- in the case of ozone, which at high levels can be a threat to human health, the results and predicted pollution levels are reported in real time, on DEC's website and through broadcast media.
DEC measures air pollutants at more than 50 sites across the state, using continuous and/or manual instrumentation. These sites are part of the federally-mandated National Air Monitoring Stations Network and the State and Local Air Monitoring Stations Network. Real time direct reading measurements include gaseous criteria pollutants (ozone, sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide), PM2.5 (fine particulate with diameter less than 2.5 microns), and meteorological data. Filter based PM2.5, lead, and acid deposition samples are collected manually and shipped to the laboratory for analysis.
Monitoring air for pollutants is a complex technical task, requiring not only direct measurement, but also measurement standards and quality assurance to ensure that the information provides a correct understanding of air quality in New York State. Ambient air quality reports provide the data and interpretations to the technical community and the public.
DEC also operates the Photochemical Assessment Monitoring Stations (PAMS) and the National Ambient Toxics Trend Stations (NATTS) as part of the EPA supported national networks. The PAMS network monitors volatile organic compounds as ozone precursors during the summer ozone season. All of the above monitoring is done for the purpose of determining the quality of the ambient air in the state so that programs can be developed to target the appropriate source categories for emission reductions. DEC is a partner in the EPA NATTS network, and these sites have become part of the New York State Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) ambient monitoring network that has been in operation by BAQS since 1990. Methodologies are continually being developed nationally for other compounds of concern.
More about Air Quality Monitoring:
- National Ambient Air Quality Standards - NYSDEC Air Resources - Air quality standards
- New York State Ambient Air Quality Report for 2015 - Summary of 2015 NYSDEC Ambient Air monitoring data
- 2016 Monitoring Network Plan - NY State ambient air monitoring program.
- PM2.5 Monitoring - Fine Particulate PM 2.5 Monitoring
- Trends for Specific VOC Compounds - Links to graphs indicating trends for specific VOC compounds
- Site Specific VOC Data 2008-2015 - Tables showing annual summaries of VOC monitoring at NYSDEC monitors
- About Ozone - Ozone, a major component of smog and a potentially harmful pollutant, is created by sunlight reacting with chemicals found in gasoline vapors and emissions from cars and industrial smoke stacks
- High Ozone Values During 2017 - Tables showing NYS monitored ozone values greater than the numerical values of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards during 2016
- NYS Ambient Air Monitoring Program Network Assessment (June 2015) - NYS Ambient Air Monitoring Program Network Assessment document, May 2015
- Albany's South End Neighborhood Air Quality Initiative - The residents in Albany's South End have expressed concern about air quality in their neighborhood. DEC partnered with the community to better understand the nature of these sources in their neighborhood and to address the community's concerns.
- Peace Bridge Air Study - DEC will conduct air monitoring at the Peace Bridge to assess local air quality. The monitoring is designed to assess air quality prior to prospective renovations of the Peace Bridge plaza, as well as after renovations.
- Bethlehem Steel Plant Fire Air Monitoring Results - Air quality samples taken at site of Great Lakes Industrial Development (Lackawanna Fire) site 11/09/16-11/11/16.
- Tonawanda Community Air Quality Study - a brief overview of the background and findings of the study.
- Policy DAR-2: Oversight of Private Air Monitoring - Procedures to be followed for the oversight of privately operated air quality monitoring networks
- Quality Assurance for Ambient Air Monitoring - Ambient Air Monitoring Section - QA and calibration standards for all monitoring networks
- Air Pollution Microscopy - The Air Pollution Microscopy program creates images of many pollutants that are too small to see in air.