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Illinois Annual Air Quality Report

Illinois Annual Air Quality Report 2006

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A Message from the Director

Illinois has made great strides in improving air quality since the creation of the Illinois EPA. Prior to 1970, all air quality monitoring was done by local agencies or the Illinois Department of Public Health. By the mid-1970s, many different agencies took part in the overall monitoring of air quality in the state. However, the networks were not always connected to provide a full overview of air quality.

Throughout that decade, air quality monitoring continued to evolve and the Illinois EPA (Agency) began operating most monitoring sites as many local agencies discontinued the work. By the late 1970s, the Agency monitored for total suspended particulates, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and doubled the number of monitors for ground level ozone.

Thanks to improvements in technology, we can now track air quality in real time and provide the data to the public, industry and federal regulators. Data is collected for the six criteria pollutants (particulate matter, ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and lead), along with some heavy metals (e.g. mercury, hexavalent chrome), nitrates, sulfates and volatile organic compounds. The information is provided through the Agency’s website

Illinois air quality showed significant improvement in 2006 as compared to 2005 due to a number of factors, including meteorology, which can result in considerable differences in air quality. Air quality in Illinois was either good or moderate 97 percent of the time throughout Illinois in 2006, compared to 90 percent in 2005. In addition, air quality trends show air pollution well below the level of the standards on a statewide basis.

The 2006 Annual Air Quality Report has been developed in order to provide a thorough, unbiased assessment of air quality in the State. The data compiled in this report was collected from the extensive air monitoring network operated throughout the State of Illinois.

As we look to the future, we predict further improvements, not only in air quality but also in technology. We commit to make progress in air quality while providing the most accurate information possible regarding the air we all breathe. Please feel free to contact the Illinois EPA with any comments and/or questions regarding this report or air pollution control programs.

Douglas P. Scott

Executive Summary

This report presents a summary of air quality data collected throughout the State of Illinois during the calendar year - 2006. Data is presented for the six criteria pollutants (those for which air quality standards have been developed - particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and lead) along with some heavy metals, nitrates, sulfates, volatile organic and toxic compounds. Monitoring was conducted at over 80 different site locations collecting data from more than 200 instruments.

In terms of the Air Quality Index (AQI) air quality during 2006 was either good or moderate more than 97 percent of the time throughout Illinois. There were no days when air quality in some part of Illinois was considered Unhealthy (category Red). This compares with 2 Unhealthy days in 2005. There were 8 days (5 for 8-hour ozone and 3 for PM2.5) when air quality in some part of Illinois was considered Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (category Orange). This compares with 32
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups days in 2005. Air quality trends for the criteria pollutants are continuing to show downward trends or stable trends well below the level of the standards. Percentage changes over the ten year period 1997 – 2006 are as follows: Particulate Matter (PM10) 8 percent decrease, Sulfur Dioxide 36 percent decrease, Nitrogen Dioxide 6 percent decrease, Carbon Monoxide 32 percent decrease, Lead 30 percent decrease, and Ozone 10 percent decrease.

Stationary point source emission data has again been included. The data in the report reflects information contained in the Emission Inventory System (EIS) as of December 31, 2006. Emission estimates are for the calendar year 2006 and are for the pollutants: particulate matter, volatile organic material, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. Emission trends of these pollutants has been given for the years 1997 to the present. Emissions reported with the Annual
Emissions Report have been provided starting with 1997 and are currently available through 2005. In general there has been a trend toward decreasing emissions over this time period.

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