New air quality monitoring plan concerns Loudon Co. residents
6 News Reporter


LOUDON COUNTY (WATE) -- Loudon County is already struggling to meet the EPA's air quality standards. However, some fear a plan by the state Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) may make cleaning the air even more difficult.

TDEC has two air quality monitoring systems in Loudon County, but it plans to dismantle the part of the system that monitors toxic chemicals at both locations.

Some fear that would be a big mistake.

"You can talk about what this plant's putting out or what the vehicles are putting out, but the ability to know what it is you're breathing requires that you measure it," says Michael Crosby, with the Loudon County Air Quality Task Force.

"You have an ozone monitor and you also have a toxic monitor and you have a particulate monitor," Crosby says. 

"These monitors check every one of these chemical that's in the air so we know if they're at levels deemed acceptable," says concerned resident Jim Pope. 

In response, TDEC officials say the data from the monitors doesn't indicate a problem so it doesn't justify the expense of the extra monitoring.

Each monitoring system costs the department approximately $45,000 a year.

Still, the task force is waiting for TEEC to respond to a letter objecting to its decision.

"If we lose the monitor, we have no way of knowing if the efforts we're putting forth are producing any possible results."

TDEC officials intend to dismantle the part of the air quality monitoring system that measures toxic chemicals at one location by the end of this year.

The other will be dismantled in another year.  

In that time, one of the county's plants will have installed more air quality controls.