Air Quality in the Treasure Valley

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



School of Public Service


Environmental Studies

Faculty Sponsor

Beau Hansen


Due to the Treasure Valley’s growing population, increased traffic congestion, and propensity for inversions, air pollution is a growing concern for the region. Particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5), a component of air contamination, has been identified to be a profound factor in the development of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Particulate concentrations are known to vary within mere feet, thus stationary air monitors such as those used by the local Department of Environmental Quality may not always accurately reflect conditions experienced at different locations within the Valley.

The purpose of this project was to map air pollution at select sites using a Met One Aerocet 831 handheld monitor, to see if individual sites are different from each other or from the readings provided by the City’s stationary air monitors. By focusing research on at-risk areas such as the Amalgamated Sugars factory, local elementary schools, and major roadways, we developed a better understanding of pollutant concentrations in the Treasure Valley. Harmful particulate matter was discovered to be higher in concentration near high-traffic roads. While the Amalgamated Sugars factory burns coal, air pollution around the factory was determined to be highly correlated with truck traffic on I-84. Similarly, air pollution was found to be higher around schools located near busy roadways. Thus, we conclude that local traffic patterns significantly influence spatial differences in air quality at different locations within the Treasure Valley.

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