A Branch of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division

How We Monitor Air Quality

Georgia’s Air Monitoring Program

The Air Protection Branch of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division has been monitoring air quality in the state of Georgia for more than forty years. During this time, the list of monitored compounds has grown to more than 200 pollutants at approximately 40 sites in 30 counties across the state.

A map of the State of Georgia showing 40 monitoring sites in 30 counties.
40 sites located in 30 counties (yellow) throughout Georgia, measuring for 200 pollutants statewide.

Collecting Air Samples and Data

We carefully collect and test the air samples to determine the concentration of each pollutant. We take measurements under very strict protocols, using highly technical equipment, to ensure that the data we produce is accurate. The field equipment also undergoes rigorous testing, calibration and maintenance.

Assuring that the Data is Accurate

To ensure precise data, we validate the data by conducting field tests on the sampling equipment. If the quality audit fails, we repair or replace the instrument before the next sample is taken.

Making the Data available

Live data from the air monitors is available on the airgeorgia.org homepage, where hourly monitoring data is posted for key pollutants. The live map shows you the air quality in your area based on actual measurements. We also submit data to EPA’s national database AIRNOW for use by EPA, researchers, and health professionals. In addition, the data is summarized in our Annual Monitoring Report. We use the data collected to determine if we are attaining the National Air Quality Standards.

Weather affects air quality

Weather affects air pollution. For instance, sunlight and heat can promote ozone formation. Temperature inversions can prevent pollution from dispersing. For this reason, we have meteorologists, a staff that manages a network of over 15 meteorological stations located throughout Georgia.

“Smog Alerts”

Using weather information as well as the pollution data collected from the monitors, a forecast team produces a daily ozone and fine particulate pollution forecast or “smog alert” for metro AtlantaMacon, and Columbus. With the use of the air quality index or AQI, this forecast allows citizens who are sensitive to air pollution to plan their day and limit their exposure.