This is the web output from the HILL TOPPER Laser Air Particulate Pollution Monitor presently located less than 2 miles SE from the proposed Sand plant site in Chippewa Falls. The prevailing wind generally blows from the site of the proposed Sand Plant, over St. Joseph’s Hospital, and past the monitor. Wind direction does vary however so the dust from the proposed sand plant operations may at times blow directly over the city and thus not be shown on this monitor.
Originally it was postulated that there were to be multiple monitors around the plant site so that by subtracting the incoming air pollution number from the total pollution leaving the site, one could calculate the amount of pollution produced by the plant regardless of the direction of the wind. Since CS&P has resisted this idea, we are installing a series of private monitors, situated as near as possible to the proposed site. These privately owned monitors are now measuring and recording the total particulate output of the air passing over the proposed sand plant plus all other airborne particulate producing sources upwind, including farming, construction, Diesel Exhaust, road dust, and surprisingly, water vapor. Over time we can produce a baseline reading before any Sand Plant operations start, so we will be able to measure the increase in particulate pollution due to Sand Plant operations. As you can see by watching the particulate count each day, our air quality is not good. We don’t need more dust in the air. By comparing this readout to the Pine Harbor Monitor, you can see how the heavy particles drop out with distance from the source.
Based on readings of a similar monitor in Menomonie, near the Sand Plant there, we expect to see our pollution index increase by orders of magnitude should this CS&P Plant actually go into operation inside the city limits of Chippewa Falls.
The monitor operates 24/7, the graph updates every minute, but the display varies depending on the time scale. Refresh your screen for the latest data.
The data shown in columnar form shows from left to right:
Small Particulates 0.5 microns/ cuFt, Large Particulates 2.5 microns/cuFt, date and time
Excellent Air Quality is 0 to 7500
Very Good is 7500 to 15000
Good is 15000 to 30000
Fair is 30000 to 105000
Poor is 105000 to 300000 . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . .expect high particle counts if it is rainy or foggy
Very Poor is 300000 and up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Remember to refresh your screen
The DNR maintains $40,000 monitoring stations around the state and depicts their pollution numbers on their website. There are only three anywhere near Chippewa Falls, Taylor, St. Croix and a partial one in Eau Claire. Looking at the DNR map
you can see that none of these sites will measure any dust passing over Chippewa Falls when the winds blow from NW to SE as they usually do.
The DNR monitors suck large quantities of air through a 2.5 microgram filter for a finite time and then they weigh the filters to determine how much dust they collected. Unfortunately for us, the particles that pass through their filters and are not
collected are the ones most dangerous to our lungs. The larger heavier particles drop to the earth rapidly, whereas the lighter ones can drift for miles. Thus it is that the DNR machines can show little pollution in the 2.5 micrograms and over size, but the air could be loaded with smaller more harmful particles and we would never know. This is illustrated by the blue / red graph (above) where the red area (big particles) is so small relative to the large blue area (small particles).
This Laser Particle Monitor actually counts the particles passing through its Laser beam, so that you can measure both the particles larger than 2.5 micrograms and the more important, and dangerous lighter ones between .5 and 2.5 micrograms.
My goal in assembling this monitor is to awaken public interest in particulate levels so that we, in ignorance of the situation, don’t permit heavy industry to fill our air with nearly invisible particulates and diminish or destroy our quality of health or our quality of life. A recent article in the local paper by a hot air balloonist noted how visibility has recently decreased from 30 miles down to 5 miles due to air pollution. See article below
Concerned Chippewa Citizens is not involved in this project although they applaud my efforts.
Should you be interested in the specifics of these monitors, click here
From: March 19, 2010 Leader Telegram, "It Seems to Me" feature, page 8A
Proof of pollution easy to see
By Ivan Idso
I was alarmed this month when the National Weather Service issued air quality alerts several times for the Chippewa Valley. These are supposed to happen in big cities, not here.I have flown hot air balloons in this area for more than 10 years, and the visibility used to be good for more than 30 miles. I haven't had visibility that good for more than five years. Initially, it was more evident at 1,000 feet, where we usually fly, but now it seems to be hazy all the time.I look forward to taking my grandchildren on a balloon flight someday, but I doubt they will ever witness the incredible views I once did. While this makes me sad, what concerns me more is what we are leaving for future generations. Our quality of life is already being affected by the constant haze in the air.The Web site www.airnow.gov provides a map of the Air Quality Index for the U.S. An air quality alert is issued when a dome of high pressure sits over an area for an extended time and traps the pollutants we emit. It's like having the ventilation fan quit working in your bathroom. As the number of alerts increases, so do respiratory problems.How bad will it have to get before we do more to fix this? I don't care whether you call it global warming or climate change, whether you're worried about polar bears or peak oil, whether you're a Republican or Democrat: We need to get going.The phrase used in the 1970s was, "The solution to pollution is dilution." That seemed logical then because the oceans and atmosphere seemed so vast, but we learned that you can't just dump everything in the water. We've done a pretty good job of cleaning up our waters, but now we have managed to reach the turning point of how much pollution our atmosphere can hold.The climate change issue is primarily concerned with CO2 emissions and global warming, but the haze and pollution we experience has the same cause and solution. The solution is to reduce our emissions and to use more clean energy.We are smart people in the Chippewa Valley, and I think we know what needs to be done, but we say it's either "inconvenient" or "the payback isn't fast enough" or "I'm not going to do anything until everyone else does too." The time for excuses is done; we need to step up.I don't think things will ever be the same as they were unless we start making some big changes. I don't believe anything until I see it with my own eyes, but now I can't deny that things are getting worse, even in our backyard. This has been "An Inconvenient Proof" for me.Idso lives in Eau Claire.