In 2018, the Clean Power Coalition raised nearly $2000 to buy seven real-time PurpleAir monitors to be installed at residences within a 3-mile radius of the Oak Creek power plant site. Families who live near the We Energies’ plants have been expressing concerns for years about exposure to coal dust and associated negative health impacts.
We Energies currently operates a single air monitoring station southwest of the plant; the results of the monitor are published only once a month. The installed PurpleAir monitors are intended to deliver faster and more accurate readings of particle pollution near residents’ homes.
We are so excited to utilize independent monitors in order to check We Engergies’ data. With more thorough measurements of coal dust, we hope to assess whether We Energies’ coal dust solutions are valid and how overall air quality is being affected by the plant. We will use results from the air monitors to provide direction for further action, which may include additional, more rigorous testing.
Here is the link to the PurpleAir Map with real-time data.
UPDATE December 2020
It is encouraging to know that there is an increased interest in air quality. Recently we received information from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) stating that the PurpleAir (PA) monitor is one device that is popularly used by individuals to check air quality around their homes and businesses. The DNR did a year-long study comparing data gathered by PA monitors with data from DNR’s regulatory monitors. They reported a consistency in the data from the PurpleAir monitors, but that the PA numbers registered higher than those from the regulatory monitors. In an effort to align the data, the DNR has provided a mathematical formula that can be used to correct the differences between the two types of monitors.
It works like this: If the Purple Air monitors shows a value of 20, for example, the adjustment needed to make it match the DNR’s monitor would be (20 x 0.514, + .8304), giving it a value of 12.110, comparable to the DNR regulatory monitor. Another example would be: If the PurpleAir monitor reads 55, multiply 55 x 0.514 and add .8304; giving the value of 29.1004 that would then match the regulatory monitor’s value. You can check readings in real time now via the PurpleAir Monitor website, and try the mathematical adjustment (reading number x 0.514 + .8304).
Those who have respiratory health problems are concerned with any amount of air pollution. Using the PurpleAir monitor to keep an eye on local air quality is an easy way to alert people with compromised health issues about when to limit their physical activity or to stay indoors.
You may refer to the full press release by the DNR for more information.