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Air Quality Program

Air Quality Studies

Sometimes Ecology conducts special air quality studies to better understand air quality issues in a specific location. Here is information about recent air quality studies.

Yakima Air Winter Nitrate (YAWN) Study (April 2014)

About 25 percent of Yakima’s winter PM2.5 is made up of nitrate in the air (aerosol nitrate). This is higher than anywhere else in the state. Researchers at Washington State University and Central Washington University studied Yakima’s air to better understand high nitrate levels. The study involved monitoring different air quality properties over three weeks in January 2013. The most likely cause of high nitrate levels was found to be the interaction of
      • ammonia from agricultural activities, with
      • oxides of nitrogen from motor vehicles, during
      • the right weather conditions.

However, the solution to reduce nitrate particles in Yakima is not obvious and requires a detailed air quality modeling study.
      • Study
      • Focus sheet

2012 Airport Lead Study (June 2013)

In December 2010, EPA revised the monitoring requirements for measuring lead in the air. The amendments required eight states to conduct one-year monitoring studies at airports with lead emission inventories between 0.50 and 1.0 tons per year. EPA identified two airports in Washington that met the study criteria: Auburn Municipal and Harvey Field.
      • Study

Sources of Fine Particles in the Tacoma-Pierce County PM2.5 Nonattainment Area

In December 2009, EPA classified the Tacoma-Pierce County area as a nonattainment area because fine particle (PM2.5) pollution levels did not meet healthy limits from 2006-2008. Ecology was required to develop an air quality plan called a State Implementation Plan (SIP) showing what actions would be taken to control air pollution in the area. Wood smoke was found to contribute more than half of the PM2.5 during the winter. Fine particles from wood smoke and industry have declined each year since 2006.
      • Study

 


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