Urbs 3751 – s22 air assignment –due march 1 @9:45 am. late deduction


UrbS 3751 – S22 Air Assignment –Due March 1 @9:45 am. Late deduction of 10%/day commences at noon

The purpose of this assignment is to get you to investigate and report on air quality within your neighborhood and within your broader community. There are many different web-based databases to investigate air pollution and you will be directed to several in order to complete this assignment.

Using the following data sources, compile a 3-4 page typewritten technical memo addressed to me to give an overview of air pollution sources (mobile, area and point)  and potential health hazards in your neighborhood. Also upload the map you create. The map can be a printed out google map that you then write on – be sure to be clear about where your home is and make a legend for what you are depicting.

Be sure to list your sources at the end of your memo.

Read your papers aloud to catch grammar/word choice issues. Do not copy from web sites, cite if you do — I can tell when you are not using your own words.  

Go to google maps and put in your zip code. Print the map or clip and save the map. Put a dot where your house is located.

Then use a wind-rose to determine prevailing winds throughout the year. For a rough determination of your risk of exposure from air pollution sources, look at a wind rose for your community. Assume your home is in the middle of the wind rose to then later think about your exposure to air pollution.

Go to http://mesonet.agron.iastate.edu/sites/locate.php?network=MN_ASOS

Use the pull-down menu to select a city close to you and then hit select station, then click on wind rose. Note: wind roses show the direction the wind is blowing from.

Then look at the map and think about the mobile sources (roads) and area (gas stations, drycleaners, etc.) sources that affect air quality in  your neighborhood.

Finally, investigate the point sources in your neighborhood:

  1. What is in your neighborhood:


Click on Advanced Search

Using drop-down boxes for Activity type choose Air Quality

Then choose zip code and put in your zip code and hit search. That will generate a list of companies that have an air permit.  If you do not get any “hits” then put in the zip located to the NW of your home, or your county instead of the zip code. Once you have a list of companies/facilities….

  1. Enter those in Google maps to find their address and locate them on your map.
  2. Then investigate the air Emissions from some of those facilities: Go to: https://www.pca.state.mn.us/air/emissions-data

Click on Permitted Facilities Emissions data. Using the drop-down boxes for year click on 2017 and 2019 (2017 is the last accounting of the toxic pollutant emission data) and hit apply. Then for facility data, unclick all and scroll down to find your first facility, click box next to that name and hit apply. (For subsequent facility searches you can click and unclick all –which will erase your last search and then scroll down to find the next facility.) You can also google these companies to see what they do there—be curious!

  1. Note the level of Criteria Pollutants emitted and then investigate the toxicity and health hazards of exposure to some of the larger volume hazardous air pollutant emissions here : https://www.epa.gov/haps/health-effects-notebook-hazardous-air-pollutants.

Your memo should reflect on how local vegetation, topography, and dominant wind direction (wind rose data) might affect your exposure to air pollution. Although there might be pollution sources in your mesoclimate (county), attributes of your neighborhood (parks, open space and vegetation, location of streets/freeways, proximity to area sources such as gas stations and the dominant wind direction) can mitigate or magnify pollution at the micro scale–your household. 

Be sure to list your sources at the end of your memo.

Read your papers aloud to catch grammar/word choice issues. Do not copy from web sites, cite if you do — I can tell when you are not using your own words.  

Grading rubric:

Introduction and conclusion                                                                                                       10pt

Discussion and definition of mobile, area and point sources                                                     15pt

Definition of what criteria & hazardous air pollutants are

and discussion of hazardous air pollutants from point sources and  their toxicity                     35pt

Accurate discussion of your exposure in relation to wind                                                          10pt

Paper synthesis/discussion of your neighborhood factors                                                         15pt                    


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