NHDES leads the way with new air monitoring station install in Laconia

Date: May 06, 2024

air monitoring stationIn an effort to increase air monitoring effectiveness in Laconia’s urban areas, the NHDES Air Resources Division (ARD) has installed the first operational air monitoring site in the country to use an AmbiLabs Detect Enclosure: a low-footprint, compact air monitoring station that houses analyzers and includes meteorological sampling capabilities. 

The new station monitoring particulate matter (PM) was installed on the lawn of Meredith Village Savings Bank (MVSB), located near neighborhoods reflecting the highest PM concentrations during past monitoring initiatives. The station will also monitor for Ozone at MVSB and the Robbie Mills Sports Complex.  

This installation marks a big step forward in monitoring for PM in Laconia. NHDES has historically received complaints and reports of wood smoke in Laconia’s urban areas, but data collected at the air monitoring station at a rural Green Street site just north of the city center, which monitors PM including wood smoke, did not reflect smoke emissions. Subsequent mobile monitoring and a targeted short-term monitoring initiative, however, confirmed that PM concentrations were higher in the town’s urban neighborhoods.  

To better serve public health, the MVSB site will capture high PM events that Green Street has missed. Initially, the Green Street station was selected for Ozone monitoring when regional Ozone concentrations were generally higher than present. Hourly PM monitoring was added years later to take advantage of Laconia's regional location. As the crow flies, the Green Street location is about 3.25 miles away from the new MVSB site. Not only is the MVSB site within a population center, but it is at a lower elevation than Green Street. If PM events do occur, it is valleys that most commonly observe and maintain PM concentrations through the trapping of local wood-burning emissions. Therefore, the Green Street site will no longer be used by NHDES. 

It is through the collaboration of MVSB, multiple local businesses, the NHDES Dam Bureau and ARD that site creation and installment was made possible.