Air quality study adds Uptown monitors

An air quality study is underway in throughout the city to measure pollutants such as car exhaust, manufacturing and chemical fumes, even cigarette smoke.

The data is being collected through Organic Vapor Monitors, small badges placed throughout Minneapolis on select days throughout the year. The air was measured on three days in May and will be measured in August, October and January.

In Southwest, the badges are along the I-35W corridor and near Lake of the Isles, Calhoun and Harriet, as well as in the Armatage neighborhood.

City Councilmember Dan Niziolek (10th Ward) said city staff discovered the new 3M technology used in the study. The badges measure toxins that are not always calculated and can be put in places other monitors can’t.

"It’s a good start," he said, but added that more strategic placement of the badges – in Uptown, for example – would be beneficial. "Now it’s just random," he said.

Niziolek said wants to use his office budget pay for more Uptown badges. He said he’s met with a badge specialist and is putting together a plan for five to eight additional badges. Total cost would be between $5,000 and $10,000.

Niziolek said he hopes to have the additional badges in place by late summer, so the city can get a summer and winter reading for this year. Potential Uptown locations include the Lake & Hennepin intersection; the Uptown Transit Station on the 2900 block of Hennepin and places a few blocks into the neighborhoods.

It’s unclear if the badges would trigger enforceable government action, though they would provide the city with more sophisticated pollution data.

For more information about city air issues, visit www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/environment/air.asp#TopOfPage.