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Illinois EPA Releases Air Quality Report for 2010

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency recently released its 4th Annual Air Quality Report, which summarizes air quality data collected in calendar year 2010. Data in the Report is presented for the six criteria pollutants (those for which air quality standards have been developed – particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and lead) along with some heavy metals, nitrates, sulfates, volatile organic and toxic compounds. Monitoring was conducted at over 80 different site locations collecting data from more than 200 instruments.

According to the Report, “air quality data monitored during 2010 were similar to 2009 data.” In terms of the Air Quality Index, “air quality during 2010 was either good or moderate 91 percent of the time throughout Illinois. There were no days when air quality in some part of Illinois was considered Unhealthy (category Red). This compares with one Unhealthy day in 2009. There were 32 days (22 for 8-hour ozone, 9 for PM2.5 and 1 for both 8-hour ozone and PM2.5) when air quality in some part of Illinois was considered Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (category Orange). This compares with 13 Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups days reported in 2009. Air quality trends for the criteria pollutants are continuing to show downward trends or stable trends well below the level of the standards. Percentage changes over the ten year period 2001-2010 are as follows: Particulate Matter (PM10) 25 percent decrease, Particulate Matter (PM2.5) 24 percent decrease, Sulfur Dioxide 43 percent decrease, Nitrogen Dioxide 25 percent decrease, Carbon Monoxide 52 percent decrease, Lead 33 percent decrease, and Ozone 19 percent decrease.”

Stationary point source emission data was again included in the report. In general there has been a trend toward decreasing emissions over the time period from 1998 to the end of 2010.

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