Exceedances of air quality standards in Iowa up in 2014; majority at Muscatine monitors

Iowa air monitors recorded 91 exceedances of National Ambient Air Quality Standards during 2014, with the vast majority (71) occurring at three locations in Muscatine.

Of the 76 exceedances of sulfur dioxide standards in the state, 66 were recorded in Muscatine at the Musser Park, Greenwood Cemetery and Muscatine High School air monitoring stations. Of the 15 exceedances of fine particulate matter (less than 2.5 microns) statewide, five occurred at Muscatine monitors.

The primary source of Muscatine's air pollution, Grain Processing Corporation (GPC), has begun a multi-million project to reduce emissions of SO2 and PM2.5. The company, which is facing a class action lawsuit by residents for air pollution in the community, agreed in March 2014 to make the plant improvements as part of a consent decree to resolve a lawsuit filed by the Iowa Attorney General in December 2011. As part of that agreement, GPC paid a record $1.5 million fine and agreed to make improvements at its plant to reduce air emissions. The Muscatine firm is owned by Kent Corporation.

The other 10 exceedances during 2014 of SO2 air quality standards occurred in Cedar Rapids at the Tait Cummins Park monitor. The other exceedances of PM 2.5 air quality standards occurred at monitors in: Sioux City (2), Davenport (2), Clinton (2), Council Bluffs (1), Iowa City (1), Cedar Rapids (1) and Viking Lake State Park (1). In 2013, Iowa recorded 67 exceedances of SO2 air quality standards and 15 exceedances of PM 2.5 standards.

CLICK HERE to download the full IDNR exceedance report for 2014.

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