179 Robie St. E.
Air quality in Minnesota is generally good and meets all federal standards. But it could be better, and in fact one of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s goals is to improve air quality in urban population centers. To get to this goal the agency needs to find out more on how air quality may differ across our urban areas.
Since last spring, the MPCA installed new air quality monitoring sensors at 44 sites in neighborhoods around Minneapolis and St. Paul. These sensors monitor and send back data to the MPCA on a variety of pollutants including fine particles, ozone, sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and carbon monoxide. There is at least one monitoring pod in each ZIP code in the two cities. In St. Paul, most of them are placed on light poles in school parking lots, and in Minneapolis they are on Xcel Energy light poles in neighborhoods.
Are there higher levels for certain pollutants? Do different neighborhoods have differences in pollutant levels? Are levels higher at certain times of the day? How much is air pollution influenced by a quiet residential neighborhood or busy roadways? These are some of the questions the MPCA hopes to learn more about through this effort. The project, funded by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, runs through the summer of 2021.
MPCA staff will present information about the project and what the sensors have been seeing thus far at a series of informational meetings this fall. Two are scheduled for St. Paul:
· October 2, 6:30 to 7:45 pm at the Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Ave.
· October 15, 6:30 to 7:45 pm, Room 273 at the Wellstone Center, 179 Robie St. E.
You can find out more about this project at https://www.pca.state.mn.us/air/assessing-urban-air-quality-project.