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Monday, June 20, 2011 - 11:52am

EPD To Shut Off Brunswick Air Monitor

State environmental officials want to close down an air quality monitor in coastal Brunswick.

An environmental watchdog says, the proposal is ill-conceived.

The monitor is a small box that captures air and tests it for the pollutant sulfur dioxide.

More than 60 counties around the state have monitors like it.

Daniel Parsley of the Glynn Environmental Coalition says, shutting it down doesn't make sense.

"It's been very helpful determining what's causing unhealthful air in our community," Parshley says. "The Environmental Protection Division needs this data so they can issue permits that are protective of the health and the environment of the community."

The state's top air quality official says, he needs the monitor elsewhere and doesn't have the money to keep one in Brunswick.

The official, James "Jac" Capp of the EPD's Air Quality Branch, says he doesn't have any choice based on rules from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

"EPA's requirements for locating sulfur dioxide monitors are based on a combination of population multiplied by emissions," Capp says. "The Brunswick area scored low in terms of population times emissions."

Capps says, he plans to move the monitor either to Atlanta or Augusta in 2013.

His decision, however, is subject to an ongoing public comment period.


An earlier version of this story stated that Brunswick has the state's highest levels of sulfur dioxide. According to the EPD's "Georgia Ambient Air Survery Report" for 2009, the latest which was available on the EPD's website, the Brunswick monitor recorded the highest "maximum observed" levels in a 24 hour period, a 3 hour period and a 1 hour period. However, the "annual mean" was the lowest in the state. Further documents provided by EPD indicate that the state regulator is reporting to federal officials that Brunswick has state's lowest measured levels of sulfur dioxide based on "99th percentile of one hour daily maximum concentrations." Mr. Parshley indicates that the prevailing winds from polluting industries are not in the direction of the air monitor and that that is likely why it is reporting very high levels for short periods of time. GPB welcomes comments and suggestions, or complaints about errors that warrant correction.

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