Tools and Resource Library


With the increased concern in diesel emissions and its associated negative impacts on public health, air quality monitoring is becoming more widely used as a tool to measure air quality in areas of concern. Today, specialized monitoring instruments (samplers) are being used at designated stations located in and around ports to measure for harmful pollutants such as; diesel particulate matter (DPM), particulate matter (PM10 & PM 2.5), ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and Lead (Pb). Meteorological parameters such as ambient temperature, wind speed and direction, and humidity are also monitored for.

Air quality monitoring stations are strategically designated in areas that have elevated levels of port-related diesel activity and/or are located in neighboring communities as way to study port-related emissions impacts on local communities. Designed to provide continuous real-time data, air quality monitoring can be helpful to determine what days experience elevated levels of port-related emissions compared to others days with lower levels. Meteorological parameters can also help explain why some monitoring stations reported better or poorer air quality days.

Air quality monitoring can be used to further expand upon other clean air programs. For example, the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) has an air quality monitoring program that compliments two other air quality programs; the Port of Los Angeles Port-Wide Emissions Inventory and Health Risk Assessments. The two main objectives of POLA's air quality monitoring program include

•  Estimating ambient levels of DPM in proximity to the Port that are due to Port operational activities and

•  Estimating ambient PM levels due to Port emissions within adjacent communities.

Due to public and regulatory interest in air quality issues in the Port, POLA worked closely with the California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District on the development of their air quality monitoring program.

The data collected from air quality monitoring provides data for on-going studies. Air quality monitoring can also be used to measure and monitor diesel emission reduction programs at a port. Since monitoring is tracked over a period of time, comparisons can be made between air quality at the port today compared to air quality at the port a year ago. Noticeable differences can be made if certain control strategies prove to be effective.  

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Implement Your Air Quality Monitoring Program

To implement your own air quality monitoring program, you can establish criteria that will help you put in place a successful monitoring program. The following criteria were used by the Port of Los Angeles to implement their air quality monitoring program.

•  Deploy the sampling network to bound Port emission sources on four sides. This network structure will provide opportunities for at least 1 sampler to be impacted primarily by Port emissions, regardless of wind direction. This design also will provide for opportunities for upwind/downwind analysis, such as during periods of on/off shore events.

•  Locate samplers within neighboring communities. Locate the primary monitoring station, which will use federal reference method monitors to collect PM10 and PM2.5 samples at one of the community sites, for comparison with ambient air quality standards.

•  Choose locations that provide adequate and unobstructed exposure to Port emission sources and the local environment.

•  Select locations that are secure from natural and human elements to ensure survivability of samplers for the duration of the program.

•  Site a sampler upwind of the outer harbor to enable sampling of upwind (absence of Port emissions) conditions during onshore flow.

•  Site a sampler in proximity to an emissions hot spot within the Port.

•  Provide grid power to minimize the need for battery-powered equipment.

•  Install air sampling inlets at heights above ground that are consistent to each sampling location.

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