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EPA grant helps Colorado county monitor air quality

EPA grant helps Coloradans in Jefferson County monitor air quality
EPA grant helps Coloradans in Jefferson County monitor air quality 02:47

A grant from the EPA is opening the door for public health officials in one Colorado county to operate nearly a dozen air quality monitors in disproportionately impacted areas.

The Jefferson County program is set to run for the next three years, giving environmentalists time to monitor trends, and making the information from the monitors available to the public online.

One Wheat Ridge resident named Claudia, who didn't want her last name used, says she regularly checks the weather before heading out for a walk, now she'll be checking the air quality in her neighborhood too.


"Like a traffic light, you know that the green is perfect that you can go, you find the red one; please don't go outside," she said while looking over the online tool.

Ten monitors are now up and running in Edgewater, Lakewood, Wheat Ridge and Golden.

"Before we brought these low-cost sensors into the community, so we didn't really have a clear picture of what or how air quality differed here from perhaps downtown Denver," said Jim Rada, the environmental health director for Jefferson County.


Rada says now they will, and that having the ability to measure particulates in the air is more important than ever.

"The population of Jefferson County has grown significantly in the last 10 years; one reason why we are doing more to try and understand the air quality situation so we can better understand what we might need to do as a community to reduce them," Rada said.

Above all, he says they want the community armed with information the public dashboard will show immediate air quality levels, ranging from good or moderate to unhealthy and very hazardous.

"(We want to) make the community highly aware of that information so that they can visit that themselves and make decisions about, when the air is bad, what should they do," Rada added.

Claudia agrees; the more you know, the better.

"I think it's very helpful," she said.

You can view the online dashboard here.

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