Update: Success! A week after this post, the Borough fixed the Near-real Time site. No explanation why it took years. Thank you to all who pressed the Borough to correct this problem.
UNHEALTHY in Fairbanks and North Pole again today.
Fairbanks North Star Borough advises it is UNHEALTHY but has only voluntary recommendations.
EPA says local air pollution is highest in the nation today. 155 AQI converts to PM2.5 of 62.3 µg/m3. EPA AQI to Concentration Calculator.
But, oops! The State forgot to issue an Air Quality Advisory until noon.
Eventually, an Air Quality Advisory was declared as UNHEALTHY for Fairbanks and North Pole AQA #2015-09. However, it failed to mention the State’s new opacity rule — at 24-hour concentrations over 30 µg/m3, State regulations prohibit smoke opacity greater than 20% for any wood heating appliance in the FNSB nonattainment area. Submitted to EPA: Final SIP, 12/24/2014, III.D.5.7-8, III.D.5.11-6. The State told EPA but why don’t they tell local burners about the new opacity rules?
Borough “Near-real Time” hourly warnings show yellow for MODERATE when hourly PM2.5 was 68.
Then, as current air conditions worsened, “Near-real Time” became orange for UNHEALTHY FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS when hourly PM2.5 was 83.
The “Near-real Time” site confuses the public by failing to provide current hourly PM2.5 information based on 24-hour exposure at that level. Table: EPA Air Quality Index for 24-hour PM2.5. The FNSB hourly site has underreported health danger since its inception.
When will FNSB listen to Dermot?
The borough reporting system does not follow the national pattern. But it should.
The borough includes this disclaimer, “When calculating Air Quality Index Level on Near-Real-Time Data, the average PM2.5 for a one hour time frame is used. Since the EPA doesn’t have index levels for the average one hour time frame, the levels indicated on this web page are calculated as if the one hour average PM2.5 were the peak value in an average 24 hour period with normally distributed emissions.”
The problem is that the hourly reports are not necessarily the daily peak levels.
While it is true that EPA does not have a one-hour standard, it is also true that cities across the country are reporting the one-hour figures and making a statement about air quality and health based on 24-hour exposure at that level.
I have asked borough officials and state officials to address this problem and adopt the reporting system that is in use in the rest of the nation.” Dermot Cole, FDNM 12/1/2012.