Aspen to renew air quality monitoring

Oct 23, 2016

Environmental health workers test truck emissions on a summer day.
Credit Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Public Radio News

Aspen City Council is scheduled to discuss renewing its contract to monitor air quality today. As Elizabeth Stewart-Severy reports, this is part of an ongoing effort to reduce pollution.

Longtime residents can remember a brown cloud over Aspen in the 1980s — one that garnered attention from the EPA. Because of Aspen’s history with air pollution, the environmental agency requires continued monitoring of air quality.

Environmental health director CJ Oliver said Aspen faces some challenges in keeping air clean.

“We have kind of a closed-end valley, and we have a very low ceiling, so we’re very subject to inversions that would basically trap our pollution here at ground level and not let it dissipate naturally,” Oliver said.  

Oliver said city programs like mass transit and regulations on wood burning fireplaces are working, and Aspen’s air is consistently high quality.

The latest contract with the company Air Resource Specialists is for three years at a total cost of just over $50,000.