Air Quality Department
The Wind River Environmental Quality Commission (WREQC), a joint program of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes (Tribes) of the Wind River Indian Reservation (WRIR) in west-central Wyoming, has established an Air Quality Program for the WRIR. The WRIR has a varied topography ranging in elevation from 4,500 feet to over 12,500 feet, covering over 2.25 million acres of land. The Tribes were the first in the nation to establish a 180,387-acre wilderness area in 1938. With some of the most pristine and abundant natural resources in the lower forty-eight states, including water, fish, wildlife, timber and clean air, it is imperative that the Tribes protect the wilderness of possible degradation from pollutants, acid rain and chemical snows. The WREQC is working with the Tribes and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop an Air Quality Program at WRIR that will provide the Tribes with the resources necessary to protect the reservation environment and its residents. The Tribes are developing an Air Quality Plan (AQ Plan) that will address the health problems of the people related to air quality on the WRIR. With economic development activity on the WRIR ranging from oil and gas development to agriculture, the Tribes are developing a comprehensive environmental program to regulate and plan for growth with protecting the environment and surrounding areas. In fiscal year (FY) 2001, WREQC applied for and received grant funding to begin an Air Quality Program on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The Sand Draw Site located to the south of Riverton, WY is scheduled to come on line in April 2009.
Air Quality Department Mission Statement
To Protect the health of the Wind River Indian Reservation residents.
Increasing respiratory health problems of adults and childhood asthma may be related to decreased air quality (IHS data). Current project activity will measure sulfur dioxide (SO2) and Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)emissions from the Riverton Dome Gas Plant near the Beaver Creek tribal housing project. The next project activity, a particulate matter 10 microns in diameter or less (PM10) site, will be developed to monitor particulate matter in the Fort Washakie and Ethete areas of the WRIR to measure the extent of unpaved road dust, agricultural burning, residential wood burning, forest service controlled burns, insecticide and herbicide spraying and fugitive particulates.
To develop a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP).
The Air Quality Program is coordinating with consultants and a certified laboratory in developing an SO2 Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP). The WREQC Air Quality Program will set up sulfur analyzers, calibrate instruments and collect data, in addition to monitoring SO2 discharges from the Riverton Dome Gas Plant near the Beaver Creek tribal housing project.
To collect air quality data.
To monitor emissions from increased oil and gas processing related activity on the WRIR.
The Air Quality Program will report air quality data in the Aerometric Information Retrieval System (AIRS) to the EPA. The air quality data will assist the Tribes in developing Tribal environmental air regulations.
To document air quality from increased industrial development in the region that may have a negative impact on the WRIR's air quality.
The WREQC is currently collecting data on acid rain deposition and its impacts on the high alpine lakes on the WRIR. In the future, the Air Quality Program on the WRIR will monitor sulfur and nitrogen to get an indication of pollution in the air from nearby coal, trona (soda ash) mines and gas processing plants in southwest Wyoming. Future work on this objective will include setting a Transmissometer and Nephelometer to measure pollutants in remote high mountain areas.
To develop air quality standards and enforce tribal air regulations further strengthening tribal sovereignty.
Collection of quality data over several years time will enable the Tribes to develop tribal air standards and regulations within the exterior boundaries of the WRIR.
Sand Draw Air Monitoring Station (below) located to the south of Riverton monitors for the following parameters:
Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) -
SO2 causes a wide variety of health and environmental impacts because of the way it reacts with other substances in the air. Particularly sensitive groups include people with asthma who are active outdoors and children, the elderly, and people with heart or lung disease.
Respiratory Effects from Gaseous SO2 - Peak levels of SO2 in the air can cause temporary breathing difficulty for people with asthma who are active outdoors. Longer-term exposures to high levels of SO2 gas and particles cause respiratory illness and aggravate existing heart disease.
Respiratory Effects from Sulfate Particles - SO2 reacts with other chemicals in the air to form tiny sulfate particles. When these are breathed, they gather in the lungs and are associated with increased respiratory symptoms and disease, difficulty in breathing, and premature death.
Visibility Impairment - Haze occurs when light is scattered or absorbed by particles and gases in the air. Sulfate particles are the major cause of reduced visibility in many parts of the U.S., including our national parks.
Acid Rain - SO2 and nitrogen oxides react with other substances in the air to form acids, which fall to earth as rain, fog, snow, or dry particles. Some may be carried by the wind for hundreds of miles.
Plant and Water Damage - Acid rain damages forests and crops, changes the makeup of soil, and makes lakes and streams acidic and unsuitable for fish. Continued exposure over a long time changes the natural variety of plants and animals in an ecosystem.
Aesthetic Damage - SO2 accelerates the decay of building materials and paints, including irreplaceable monuments, statues, and sculptures that are part of our nation's cultural heritage.
Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) -
Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas and has a strong odor of rotten eggs (HSDB, 1998). Hydrogen sulfide is soluble in certain polar organic solvents, notably methanol, acetone, propylene carbonate, sulfolane, tributyl phosphate, various glycols, and glycol ethers (HSDB, 1998). It is also soluble in glycerol, gasoline, kerosene, carbon disulfide, and crude oil. Aqueous solutions of H2S are not stable; absorbed oxygen causes the formation of elemental sulfur and the solutions become turbid rapidly (HSDB, 1998).
The primary uses of H2S include the production of elemental sulfur and sulfuric acid, the manufacture of heavy water and other chemicals; in metallurgy; and as an analytical reagent (HSDB, 1998). In agriculture, it is used as a disinfectant. Formulations include a technical grade (98.5%) and a purified grade (99.5% min.). Occupational exposure to H2S occurs primarily from its presence in petroleum, natural gas, soil, sewer gas and as a byproduct of chemical reactions, e.g., viscose rayon and certain leather tanning processes.
Hydrogen sulfide gas is a natural product of decaying organic matter. In residential settings it is most commonly the result of decomposition in septic or sewer systems.
If you have any Air Quality Concerns or to report Air Quality Conditions please contact WREQC or contact (307) 332-3164
Wind Speed (WS)- This parameter will tell how the Miles per Hour (MPH) that the wind is blowing at the Sand Draw Station
Wind Direction (WD)- This parameter will show in Degrees which direction the wind if blowing from
Temperature (T)- This parameter will tell what the temperature is in Degrees Celsius
Relative Humidity (RH)- This parameter will show how much humidity is in the air
Barometric Pressure (BP)- This parameter will show how much pressure is in the air
Solar Radiation (SR)-This parameter will show how much sunlight the area is receiving