By James Niedzinski
---- — LONDONDERRY — Residents can breathe easy since a state-of-the-art air monitoring facility now sits next to Moose Hill School.
The facility, created by the state Department of Environmental Services, will make air quality information such as pollution and ozone levels available to the public, as well as warn people when the air quality could be dangerous.
The station will monitor carbon monoxide, small particle pollution, ozone and weather patterns, said Craig Wright, the state DES air resource acting director.
While it has been operation since 2011, the official ribbon-cutting ceremony was just last week.
Moose Hill School was chosen as the site of the because of its unique position in Southern New Hampshire.
While there are no nearby sources of pollutants nearby, the area is a corridor for pollution, DES officials said.
The station is just one of 14 monitoring facilities across the state, but may be the most advanced,according to DES quality assurance manager James Poisson.
“The state saves a lot of money, because somebody only has to check on this station on a weekly basis, rather than a daily one,” he said.
The facility uses half as much energy as the other ones throughout the state, because of the solar panels and new insulation of the facility, Poisson said.
The facility uses about 41 kilowatt hours per day. In comparison, the average household uses about 30 kilowatt hours per day. In addition, the new station is equipped with solar panels, which also helps reduce the energy usage, DES commissioner Thomas Burack said.
Burack said the new facility is one of the most advanced in the state, and will continue to help provide New Hampshire with clean air.
“This facility and others like are our most important tools when it comes to clean air,” he said.
The station cost approximately $200,000 and was largely funded by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Wright said.
The project was also funded, in part, by a lawsuit in 2007 in which the Justice Department won a case against American Electric Power Company for violating the Clean Air Act, Wright said.
While the facility is located at Moose Hill School, a handful of Londonderry High School Advanced Placement environmental science students showed up, equipped with iPads and ready to tour the station.
“When spring rolls back around, we will be out here bit,” LHS teacher William Knee said.
Elderly residents, those with asthma and young children are the most likely to suffer from breathing problems if the air quality is low, Burack said.
For more information on the air monitoring station or the air quality in New Hampshire, visit des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/air/overview.htm.