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New Orleans Air Quality Monitoring Continues Despite Storm Damage

Release Date: 9/30/2005
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

     Following Hurricane Katrina, traditional air monitoring networks in and around New Orleans were badly damaged, and many were inoperable. We continue to restore these monitoring systems. In the interim, EPA, in consultation with LDEQ, is establishing a network of air quality monitoring sites in the New Orleans area.

     Up to a total of 17-19 air monitoring sites will be established as access, site preparation and electrical power supply efforts are completed for each site. The sites include LDEQ's original air monitoring sites, refitted with EPA equipment, plus additional sites to monitor air quality during Katrina restoration activities. Air monitoring will occur at some, but not all, of the fixed sites on a given day, as priorities, site preparations and available resources for sampling allow.

     Air sampling at several sites in and around New Orleans began on October 9th. Metals (for example, lead and arsenic), volatile organics compounds (VOC's; for example benzene), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's; carcinogens associated with burning activities) and particulate matter are among some of the pollutants monitored. Most monitoring methods require analysis of samples in a laboratory. Depending on the pollutant, the process may take one day to one week. Visit the Hurricane Response Test Results Web page to view the air sampling results. Additional data will be provided as soon as it becomes available.