Imperial County Air Monitoring Network
BY ALFREDO GUZMAN
The Imperial Valley is a unique place geographically.
We are located below sea level, circled by mountains. To the North is the largest lake in California which is fed by the Colorado river. The bustling metropolis of Mexicali is to the South.
Chiefly, because of these geographical features; air pollution from Mexicali makes it’s way across the border and lingers trapped by the mountains; while particulate matter from the drying lake bed of the Salton Sea can head our way when the winds are blowing South. These factors and others negatively add to the overall air quality of the Imperial Valley.
Depending on the weather, the quality of the air in the Imperial Valley can change dramatically. Dry, windy weather is generally a sign that the quality of the air is going to be poor.
Rain tends to be a good sign, keeping particulate matter moist and out of the air where it can’t harm Imperial Valley residents.
In public places, an eagle eyed observer may have noticed colored flags being displayed along with the state and national flag. These colored flags are warnings put forth by the Imperial County Air Monitoring Network. The flags are colored coded with green meaning the air quality outside is good transitioning to red meaning the air quality could be potentially detrimental to children and those with asthma and other breathing problems.
According to the Imperial County Pollution Control District Website, The Imperial County Air Monitoring Network monitors pollutants in Imperial County including Ozone (O3), Particulate Matter with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less (PM2.5), Particulate Matter with a diameter of 10 microns or less (PM10), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and lead (Pb).
The Imperial County air monitoring network is designed to provide information to air quality managers at the State, federal and local level. The Imperial County air monitoring network also informs the general public of air pollution levels at any given hour. The site is located at www.imperialvalleyair.org.