Environmental Services Program
Missouri Air Quality Assurance and Air Quality Monitoring
As mandated by EPA in 1983, a state quality assurance plan was established that included the formation of an ambient Air Quality Assurance Unit, or AQAU. The unit's purpose is to ensure air data produced is of known quality and the quality level is adequate to meet monitoring objectives.
The unit is responsible for planning, managing and performing all quality assurance activities in Missouri's ambient air monitoring network. This includes not only Missouri's network, but the local agency networks of Springfield, St. Louis City and surrounding counties and Kansas City. In addition, the unit oversees state required networks operated by private industries.
The air quality assurance unit was asked to participate in workgroups formed by EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards. The unit’s participation involved writing and reviewing standard operating procedures and technical assistance documents for ozone traceability standards, the protocol gas audit program and lead performance evaluation program auditing.
Additionally, in cooperation with contract personnel, the unit developed, reviewed and evaluated quality assurance project plans and standard operating procedures for the St. Louis City monitoring agency.
Staff in the air quality monitoring section operate a variety of instruments at many locations around the state, as part of a network to monitor air pollutants known to affect people's health. In addition, staff conduct special air quality studies.
The data from air instruments may be used:
- To determine whether an area meets the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
- If the public is being exposed to unhealthy conditions.
- To identify air pollution trends
- To investigate citizen complaints.
- To determine the source of pollution problems.
- To inform people of the current air quality in real time for major metropolitan areas within Missouri.