Wyoming's oil and gas industries are booming but the increase in the number of drilling sites as well as other controversies over drilling techniques have raised many questions and concerns. During the winter season, areas near several drilling sites encountered high ozone levels. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Qualities Air Quality Division has began operation of a new air quality monitoring station in the Hiawatha Gas Field this month. It is the first monitoring station that uses renewable energy as its primary source of power.

According to a release from the DEQ, the new solar and wind powered monitoring station is located south of Rock Springs, in the Hiawatha Gas Field.  The monitoring station is part of the AQD's commitment to monitor ambient air quality throughout Wyoming.  The monitoring station was established to assess ambient air quality in an area of oil and gas development.

Pollutants and meteorological parameters will be monitored by the monitoring station. Those paramaters include ozone, temperature, wind speed, wind direction, precipitation, relative humidity, and solar radiation.  The station will also include scene monitoring for possible use in visibility studies.

The monitoring station cost  approximately $190,000. The EPA funded around 74% of the project. Annual costs to maintain the site is expected to cost $30,000.

The AQD operates monitoring stations throughout the State of Wyoming.  Real-time monitored data, including meteorological data, can be found at www.wyvisnet.com.