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MADISON – Wisconsin’s air quality continues to improve – that’s the latest message coming from the most recent data in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Air Quality Trends Report.
The April 2014 report provides current monitoring data and an assessment of improving air quality in the state, along with the trends in air quality dating as far back as 1997, depending on the site.
The report is available on the air quality trends page of the DNR website, which includes an interactive map where the user can look at concentrations from sites around the state.
“Wisconsin’s air quality has shown significant improvement over the years,” said DNR Air Program Director Bart Sponseller. “This report makes air monitoring data more accessible to the public and displays longer term trends.”
The report comes on the heels of a recent EPA announcement that Milwaukee, Racine and Waukesha counties meet all federal Clean Air standards, representing years of public and private action to reduce pollution emissions.
The updated trends include data from 2012. The summer of 2012 was the hottest on record for Milwaukee and the third hottest summer in Madison. Extreme heat and a lack of rain are prime conditions for ground level ozone formation, and these conditions contributed to increased ozone concentrations statewide, as compared to 2011.
The report also includes draft 2013 ozone data, which is currently under review. When 2013 draft data is included, overall ozone concentrations decrease, reflecting a summer with more normal conditions.
Sponseller noted that, even with the weather challenges from the 2012 summer, air quality continues to show improvement in Wisconsin. Some of the report’s key findings:
• long-term trends of ozone and fine particulate (PM2.5) levels continue to decrease statewide;
• Wisconsin counties in nonattainment since the enactment of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments remained at its lowest number, and decreased even further as a result of the redesignation of Milwaukee, Waukesha and Racine counties;
• the state’s air monitoring data is critical to the efforts necessary to analyze and assess air quality standards on state and federal levels; and
• the report’s information is once again a valuable part of the effort to help promote an understanding of Wisconsin’s air quality trends.
“These trends demonstrate that Wisconsin’s Air Program has been very successful with citizens of Wisconsin in enhancing the state’s air quality,” said Sponseller. “Wisconsin’s Air Program is a national leader in implementing strategies to improve air quality.”
Go to the DNR website dnr.wi.gov and search for keywords “air quality” to learn more.