Outdoor Air Quality Index (AQI)

Desired Result:   Below Target

 
color legend

Subscribe to Quarterly Email Updates


Analysis of Performance

Note: Review and validation of this data is conducted by the CO Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and can take 8 - 12 weeks after the quarter ends. Accordingly, current performance is based on the prior quarter's results.

  • This is a quarterly metric.
  • The AQI did not meet the target.
  • The AQI represents a combination of impacts from particulate matter and ground levels ozone concentrations. Higher ozone concentrations are generally observed in summer months. Ozone formation is influenced by many factors including intensity and hours of sunlight, stability of the atmosphere, and sources of air pollutants. 
  • Particulate levels have been affected by large regional wildfires.
  • These metrics are based on EPA standards, which are 24-hour averages for particulate matter, and 8-hours for ozone.  Many of the extreme impacts from the fires were short term (1-2 hours) and not reflected in these longer averages.



  • Ozone and particulate matter are regional problems. Local efforts to improve air quality include:
    • Providing education and outreach to increase awareness about the health impacts of high particulate days, including a data monitoring website (see fcgov.com/airquality).
    • Restrictions on outdoor solid fuel burning in residential areas.
    • Transportation planning efforts to reduce vehicles emissions, such as promotion of alternative transportation options.
    • Partnering with the Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) to provide outreach regarding high ozone days.

Metric Definition
The Air Quality Index (AQI) is used by the EPA to communicate daily air pollution and health implications. Shown are the number of days per quarter in which the ozone or PM2.5 AQI was categorized as “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”, “Unhealthy” or “Very Unhealthy”. The metric is a measure of the number of 'good' air quality days (as defined by EPA's Air Quality Index - AQI) in a quarter based on air quality monitoring data from Fort Collins.  The AQI is calculated by EPA as a measure of local air quality and its effect on human health.  The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern.  'Good' air quality corresponds to an AQI of 50 or less (on a scale of 0-500) and poses little or no risk of adverse health effects.
Why Is This Important?
The Air Quality Index (AQI) is used by the EPA to communicate daily air pollution and health implications. Shown are the number of days per quarter in which the ozone or PM2.5 AQI was categorized as “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups”, “Unhealthy” or “Very Unhealthy”.
City Organization Impact on Performance

Low – This metric is influenced much more directly by atmospheric conditions and emissions from motor vehicles and industry than it is by City efforts to implement emission reduction strategies and programs.

Benchmark Information
THE AQI for ozone and particulate matter have not been benchmarked against other world class cities because the measures are highly influenced by local and regional factors that are not comparable to other cities. Ozone concentrations are influenced by meteorological and topographical conditions that can be unique to each city. In addition, ozone is influenced by transport from other regions. Particulate matter concentrations are influenced by local climate conditions and local emission sources that can be unique to each city and can be highly influenced by natural events such as wildfire.