On March 3, 2014, it was announced that Florida is expanding its air monitoring network by purchasing 14 new air monitors and upgrading old technology of 39 more to improve its coverage. The bolstered network provides Department scientists valuable data to ensure that Florida’s air quality remains among the best in the nation.
The network of 214 air monitors placed strategically throughout the state are designed to measure different types of air pollutants in order to make regulatory decisions and ensure compliance with federal air quality standards. Fourteen new monitors will measure nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants, while the 39 upgraded monitors measure ozone and sulfur dioxide. Upgrading existing monitors to digital analyzers and adding wireless communication equipment will provide more reliable data and require less upkeep. Florida’s air monitoring network currently covers roughly 92 percent of the state’s population, tops among Southeastern states. Nationwide, Florida ranks second to California in coverage among the most populated states, based on 2012 data.
“Floridians and visitors breathe some of the cleanest air in the nation, thanks to the efforts of the Department to protect our air and advancements in technology that have improved our air quality,” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “Florida air emissions are the lowest on record, thanks to the Department’s work during Governor Rick Scott’s administration to curb air pollution statewide.”
The new technology provides remote troubleshooting and calibration capabilities, eliminates unnecessary site visit requirements and decreases operational costs for the Department. These new and upgraded monitors will allow for smarter regulatory decisions and problem solving based on more reliable science and data. In total, the Department is spending more than $700,000 this year to bolster its air monitoring network.
“This investment reflects Florida’s commitment to achieving stringent air quality standards,” said Brian Accardo, Division of Air Resource Management Director. “After becoming more efficient in our operations and saving taxpayer dollars, we are investing those savings in equipment to help our division better protect Florida’s air quality.”
The Department’s website allows the public to monitor updated air quality information through its Spatial Air Quality System. Web users are able to access updated air quality data as reported by Florida’s statewide network of air quality monitors. Additional information about Florida’s air quality is available through the Department’s Division of Air Resource Management website.
Rep. Jim Boyd said, “DEP continues to make smart investments in Florida’s ability to curb and control pollution. This investment in new and updated monitors is another example of better government.”
Rep. Doug Holder said, “Florida has done a great job to cut down on air pollution and, in fact, is seeing an all-time low in air emissions as businesses invest in new technology and shift away to cleaner practices. Increasing and upgrading monitors ensures that all Floridians can breathe better air.”
Rep. Kathleen Passidomo said, “Upgrading and adding air monitors throughout the state is important to making sure that all Floridians are able to breathe clean air. This is especially important to those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of air pollution.”