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Air-monitoring program gets a lift

The Environmental Health and Sustainability Department is requesting a $3,760 budget increase to maintain its air-monitoring program. At Tuesday night’s work session, the Aspen City council gave its support.

The city of Aspen has been monitoring particulate matter (PM10) for 25 years, and in 2010, it started monitoring ground level ozone. In 2013, monitoring of ozone and PM10 showed that Aspen continues to maintain air quality below national standards. Currently, staff does not have the capability to monitor PM 2.5.

The new system will replace the current, aging PM10 monitor, and it will add a PM2.5 monitor, which is in line with state recommendations. Currently, PM10 and ozone monitors are separate. The upgrade will combine the two, saving time and effort, according to a memo to the City Council. It also will allow Aspen to compare real-time data with other areas in the region.

Total operations and maintenance budget for the department would increase from $15,330 to $19,090.