Public Lab Research note

History of Community Air Monitoring in Western Wisconsin

by mlamadrid , mathew | June 21, 2016 20:23 21 Jun 20:23 | #13217 | #13217

Article by Mathew Lippincott for Community Science Forum: Sand-Frac Issue.

“Without Hank and Jeff there wouldn’t be any covers on the sand piles in Chippewa Falls. That’s my opinion. They’re only there due to pressure, created when people were learning about monitoring and looking at the charts. EOG can deny it all they want, but they made the effort to cover the piles owing to that pressure.”

-Jerry Lausted

In 2007 Jerry Lausted, a veteran of the fight against the Hoffman Hills mine, began to wonder about the effects of dust from Fairmount’s Dunn County mine on the air quality at his house in Menomonie. Jerry found the Dylos 1100 particle monitor, and worked with his son Chris to get it reporting on the internet at the now-offline Menomonie Monitor website. The site reported PM2.5 and PM10 airborne concentrations as measured by the Dylos, along with wind speed and direction info from the nearby airport weather station. The live data, while imperfect, helped raise awareness of the air quality issue in Menomonie.

In 2011, Jerry met Hank Boschen at a Concerned Chippewa Citizen meeting about another mining operation, the EOG transfer facility going in in Chippewa Falls. Hank was excited about the idea of monitoring dust from the facility. With a little direction from Jerry and Chris, Hank built Concerned Chippewa Citizen’s dust monitoring map with six different monitoring sites around or near the mine. Dylos 1100 monitors were bought for all the sites using Hank’s funds and those donated by community members near the mine.

In 2012, Jeff Falk, a statistician from Buffalo County where mines were starting to be proposed, discovered the project and wanted to take a closer look at the data. In his review) of the data from two monitors on opposite sides of the mine, Jeff found that when the wind was blowing within 30-degrees of a straight line between the monitors, the downwind monitor showed higher particulate matter values than upwind monitors.

Jeff’s analysis of data was used at public meetings in Buffalo county during their work opposing mines, and also in Chippewa Falls. Following this pressure, EOG covered their facility and installed a Federal Reference Monitor for PM10. Public Lab has worked with the Open Pipe Kit team to make the software and hardware for putting Dylos monitors online durable.

Further Reading

Read more about particulate matter on the PM wiki page.

Read more about Open Pipe Kit at


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