QUALITY CONTROL: Two pollutants make up the bulk of the air quality monitoring oversight by the NC Department of Environmental Quality: ozone and fine particulates (PM2.5). From Bryson City to Lenoir, there are 11 ozone monitoring sites and five sites for PM2.5. The WNC Air Quality Agency conducts monitoring operations in Buncombe County, which also includes an urban air toxics monitor at A-B Tech. New this year is a sulfur dioxide monitor near the Duke Energy Progress plant in Skyland. Image from  Google, mapped by NCDEQ

Air apparent: monitoring air quality in the mountains

We all have to breathe to live, and the good news is that here in Western North Carolina, the quality of the air we all share is much better than it was just a few years ago. Across North Carolina, government employees are monitoring air quality and the associated health risks to make sure they stay within specified legal parameters. Meanwhile, citizen volunteers are also collecting data and working to make more information available to the public.

Want to clean up our toxic coal-ash problem?

For everyone following the battle over coal-ash regulation, the Democratic National Convention could not have chosen a better location. Right now, every politician staying in the Charlotte area is drinking the same water that 1.5 million local citizens drink. However, anyone arriving by helicopter might have lost their thirst! Right next to Mountain Island Lake […]

EPA will oversee coal ash removal at Tennessee plant-attachment0

EPA will oversee coal ash removal at Tennessee plant

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will oversee the removal of coal ash at the TVA Kingston Fossil Fuel Plant in Roane County, Tenn., where approximately 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash spilled last December. In related news, a coal-ash pond at an Asheville power plant is on a list of potentially dangerous storage ponds, according to a report released by two environmental groups.

Judge rules against Duke Energy’s Cliffside plant-attachment0

Judge rules against Duke Energy’s Cliffside plant

U.S. District Judge Lacy H. Thornburg has ruled that Duke Energy must comply with the Clean Air Act for its new unit at the Cliffside power plant. The Dec. 2 order forces Duke to undergo a stringent process to investigate the plant’s likely pollution levels, as well as the appropriate technology to control toxics released from the new coal boiler that Duke says will replace several smaller older units.