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By Benjamin Schmidt
Missoula City-County Health Department Air Quality Specialist 

Understanding Air Quality Messages on SLE's Electronic Sign

 

Photo provided.

The electronic sign outside of Seeley Lake Elementary is color coded to provide air quality information. When the sign is green, air quality is good. When the sign is yellow, the three-hour average is approaching 35 µg/m3. And when the sign is red, the three-hour average is over 35 µg/m3 and people need to reduce wood stove smoke emissions.

SEELEY LAKE - With the abundance of wood and no natural gas pipeline in the area, many businesses and residents of Seeley Lake use wood stoves as an affordable heating option. Unfortunately, winter wood stove smoke emissions are the main reason Seeley Lake exceeds a national air pollution standard for particulate matter (specifically, PM2.5).

PM2.5 is particulate matter in the air with a diameter of 2.5 microns and smaller. The National Ambient Air Quality Standard for PM2.5 is 35 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) averaged from midnight to midnight. This is frequently called the 24-hour,...



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