For Commerce City and North Denver residents who want more information about the community’s air quality, it’s important to share that the new CCND air monitoring program is now live. Residents should soon experience a significant improvement in the availability and accessibility of air-monitoring data, as a number of community air monitoring programs are underway.
While our Commerce City Refinery always has been committed to monitoring — we monitor emissions from our operations 24/7 — it is fair to say that the community wants more and easy-to-find information and data about the air we breathe daily.
We heard you, and have taken action. Our new CCND Air Monitoring program provides the community with access to continuous air monitoring information from eight monitoring stations (eventually expanding to 10 stations) reporting in near real-time, as well as through laboratory analysis and a mobile monitoring van. The program will provide measurements of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and other total volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that the community is concerned about.
Montrose Air Quality Services, a third-party team of environmental experts, will deploy, maintain and operate the program. Montrose, which helped build Denver’s “Love My Air” air-monitoring program, has established a rigorous quality-assurance program to ensure the validity and quality of the data CCND Air Monitoring will collect.
To ensure we had specific input from the community, we held two public meetings in May, where community members learned more about air monitoring, provided input on where additional air monitors should be located, and asked questions about the program to experts from Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. and Montrose. In fact, community feedback and connections to other air-monitoring programs led to the placement of three of the CCND Air Monitoring sensors at Adams City High School, Central Elementary School and Rose Hill Elementary School.
I’d like to thank the community members who participated in the virtual public meetings. And there will be more opportunities to provide input to the program. CCND Air Monitoring is a pilot program, and while we fully expect to support a long-term community air-monitoring solution, we are using this one-year evaluation period as a way to continue engaging with the community and to hear your thoughts.
We want community members to have data that is local to where they live, work and play outside. Feedback will help ensure that these monitors are in the right areas. We’ll also use the one-year evaluation period to ensure that the technology is accomplishing the data-sharing goals. While the program launch is a critical step, we intend to improve it as we move forward.
The CCND Air Monitoring program is just one of a few air-monitoring programs being stood up by organizations this year. We are supportive of all air-monitoring efforts, and we look forward to working with other organizations on improving the quality and availability of air monitoring information in 2021 and beyond.
We are committed to evolving the CCND Air Monitoring program to meet the needs of the Commerce City and North Denver communities. We look forward to hearing how we can continue to improve and be a trusted partner providing Coloradans with the quality and affordable fuel products we all need and use.
Donald Austin, of Broomfield, is vice president of Suncor’s Commerce City Refinery