Public Lab Research note

June PM 2.5 Data

by tylerknight | July 08, 2022 14:35 08 Jul 14:35 | #31265 | #31265

June saw similar levels of PM 2.5 in St James compared to those seen in May.

Overall, the concentration of PM 2.5 at both the Vacherie and St James sites looked remarkably similar to last month, including the percentage of the month where the concentration was elevated over 12 μg/m3. As always, you can continue to track PM 2.5 from our deployed Purple Air monitors from the Purple Air Map.

Table 1. Summary of Data from Three Public Lab Air Monitors May to June

Site # of Days Average PM 2.5 (μg/m3) Maximum PM 2.5 (μg/m3) Amount of Time over 12 μg/m3 (hrs) 
% of Month over 12 μg/m3
Vacherie 35.9 9.13 43.94 259.33 30.02 %
St James 35.81 8.04 87.87 216.67 25.2 %
Welcome 6.1

Another thing visible from the data table is the lack of data for the Welcome site. Unfortunately, the Purple Air at Welcome had a spotty signal at the end of May, with only 6 days of uptime, and went down entirely after June 3rd. During those 6 days, there were many periods of no data collected, leading to a lack of confidence in any of the data collected in that time. This could be due to loss of a WiFi signal, as briefly happened in a previous month, a loss of power to the device, or the failure of the Purple Air. Unfortunately, the Public Lab team hasn't been able to visit the site to troubleshoot the monitor, so it's unclear what might have happened. This is one drawback of a WiFi reliant sensor, that data won't collect without a consistent connection, which may be difficult to find in areas which have a need for air monitoring. The benefit of remote access to data, however, often outweighs the risk of relying on internet enabled data collection. The Public Lab team is currently exploring remote WiFi hotspot options as a solution to this monitor's downtime, and other future monitor installations.

Figure 1. PM 2.5 at Vacherie from 5/25/2022 to 6/30/2022

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Figure 2. PM 2.5 at St James from 5/25/2022 to 6/30/2022

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Figure 3. PM 2.5 at Welcome from 5/25/2022 to 6/30/2022

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As seen in the graphs, both Vacherie and St James saw similar spikes to those in May. The elevated events were less long than in May (at Vacherie, 3 consecutive days over 12 μg/m3 in June vs 5 in May), but there were more of them. The highest maximum reading for either site was observed at St James, with a reading of 87.87 μg/m3, much higher than the highest reading observed in May, but not as high as the extreme spike seen in April.

All in all, June's data shows that PM 2.5 remains high in St James Parish, with similar trends in spikes and the duration of high concentration events. We will continue to look for trends in the data over the next month of collection, and hope to have more sensors online soon.


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