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Aroostook Band of Micmacs Unveil State-of-the-Art, Real-Time Air Monitoring Equipment

Release Date: 06/17/04
Contact Information: Contact: David Deegan, 617-918-1017

For Immediate Release: June 17, 2004; Release # 04-06-19

BOSTON -- With the assistance of EPA funding, the Aroostook Band of Micmacs are now beginning use of a sophisticated air monitoring system. Data from the new equipment will also be utilized as part of a public education campaign in Northern Maine to inform citizens about various air pollutants and how air emissions can be harmful to human health.

With the Aroostook Band of Micmacs' weather station now up and running, real-time air quality data can be located on the tribe's website. The project will use the data to generate alerts on poor air quality days, warning susceptible populations to limit outdoor activities. Continuous ambient air monitors are being established in northern Maine for important air pollutants, including nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur oxides (SOx), carbon monoxide, ground-level ozone (smog), fine particles and visibility.

"The better monitoring of air quality using this new state-of-the-art equipment will provide valuable information to the residents of Northern Maine, especially people suffering from asthma and other respiratory ailments," commented Robert W. Varney, Regional Administrator of EPA's New England office.

Poor air quality is a particular concern for the area, as Aroostook County has one of the highest asthma rates in the country. This project will monitor air quality in real time and make the data immediately available to the public on the project's Internet website and through local media.

In addition to the project's Internet website, a subscription-based e-mail service will be established to generate automatic e-mail alerts whenever desired air pollutant thresholds are exceeded or when based on a pollutant concentration rate and time trend. Local hospitals, health care providers, and the Maine and New Brunswick, Canada Lung Associations have all expressed a need for air quality data to help patients with respiratory illness better manage their health, and have also agreed to assist with communicating project data and educational information to the public.
To help with this project, an EPA grant of $290,000 was awarded to the Aroostook Band of Micmacs in April 2002. More information on EPA New England's program to work with federally-recognized tribes is available at: .

Related Information:
EPA New England
Tribal Web site

Air Monitoring: New England Regional Laboratory
Air Quality Index