Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Program, Air Quality Planning and Standards, Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Data Center Description
Between the years 1900 and 1970, the emission of six principal pollutants increased significantly. These six pollutants, also called criteria pollutants, are: particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and lead. In 1970, the Clean Air Act (CAA) was signed into law. The CAA and its amendments provides the framework for all pertinent organizations to protect air quality.
One way to protect and assess air quality was through the development of an Ambient Air Monitoring Program. Air quality samples are generally collected for one or more of the following purposes:
* To judge compliance with and/or progress made towards meeting ambient air quality standards. * To activate emergency control procedures that prevent or alleviate air pollution episodes. * To observe pollution trends throughout the region, including non-urban areas. * To provide a data base for research evaluation of effects: urban, land-use, and transportation planning; development and evaluation of abatement strategies; and development and validation of diffusion models.
The EPA's ambient air quality monitoring program is carried out by State and local agencies and consists of three major categories of monitoring stations, State and Local Air Monitoring Stations (SLAMS), National Air Monitoring Stations (NAMS), and Special Purpose Monitoring Stations (SPMS), that measure the criteria pollutants. Additionally, a fourth category of a monitoring station, the Photochemical Assessment Monitoring Stations (PAMS), which measures ozone precursors (approximately 60 volatile hydrocarbons and carbonyl) has been required by the 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act.