Pueblo County air pollution tracking will get a $50,000 boost

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The Evraz steel mill, and a mountain of slag, is visible from a street in the Salt Creek neighborhood on Pueblo’s east side. Salt Creek itself flows out of the steel mill’s property. Photographed Monday, April 18, 2022.

An effort to track air quality in Pueblo County has secured $50,000 in funding. Clean Air Pueblo, a project of Mothers Out Front Colorado, announced the two-year grant last week. 

Most of the funds will go toward buying new air quality monitors to install across Pueblo County, according to Jane Fraser, project coordinator. Fraser said they’ve already purchased 18 sensors from IQAir with plans to buy more.  

“We don’t know what the air quality looks like in Pueblo,” Fraser said. “Maybe we’ll conclude, ‘Oh my gosh, the air quality is wonderful in Pueblo.’ I kinda doubt it. We have some known polluters.” 

The data will be shared in real time on an online map provided by IQAir. 

Fraser said that adding to air quality data from the state and other sensors already installed in Pueblo County will give a more complete picture of where particulate pollution is highest. 

“We know that Pueblo County has some serious health impacts that could be caused by air quality,” Fraser said. “And we also know that there are significant sources of air pollution in the county. But there’s an amazing lack of data that lets us put those two together.”

The grant comes from the Windward Fund, which provides funding for environmental projects. Fraser said eventually the group wants to find further funding in order to keep longer-term records of pollution in order to track possible trends in air quality.