NWCAA: Serving Island, Skagit and Whatcom Counties
Jan. 4, 2016 - Air quality update


It's ok to burn, but please keep it clean - Weather service air stagnation advisory canceled


The National Weather Service canceled its air stagnation advisory, and our models show air quality is improving. Burning is once again ok, but please keep it clean. Remember a poorly managed fire can affect you and your neighborhood. Check our monitors often, and follow the state health guidance. We'll post updates here and on our Facebook page.




Monitoring air quality

A network of air monitoring stations throughout our jurisdiction helps give us a regional picture of our air quality.


Our agency operates real-time monitors in cities, near industry, and at one rural site in our jurisdiction. We also require larger industries to monitor air quality at their fence lines and send us monthly reports of the data they collect.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established health-based National Ambient Air Quality Standards for six pollutants: Ground-level ozone (O3), particulate matter (PM2.5), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and lead. We determine which of these pollutants to measure at different locations based on what potential sources of pollution are in the area.


For these pollutants, EPA has converted the pollutant concentrations to a scale called the Air Quality Index (AQI) to help us communicate how clean or polluted our air is, and what the associated health effects might be.


The state of Washington uses a separate indexing system called the Washington Air Quality Advisory (WAQA).  The WAQA considers lower particulate concentrations more harmful to human health than the federal AQI, but it is the same as the AQI for other pollutants.


Scaled values for both the state and federal systems range from 0-500. A higher value means more air pollution and unhealthier air. Values below 100 are considered acceptable. When values are above 100, air quality is considered to be unhealthy—at first for sensitive groups of people, then for everyone, as values get higher.


How we report air quality information to you


Our agency’s air quality monitors are linked to the state monitoring network. When you click on links for current, local air quality (see box at top right), you’ll see gauges that describe air quality according to the state WAQA scale.


We archive our data and the data we collect from industry monitors in monthly summary tables (see box at right) that report the actual 24-hour average concentrations of pollutants, and are color coded according to the federal AQI scale.


current air quality:


Quick Links:



Monthly air quality summaries:


December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

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April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

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January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

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February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011