Large increases of airborne carcinogen silica
dust are expected to descend upon Newberry Springs from the massive
utility-scale solar projects proposed for the Silver Valley.
To monitor the silica dust, the Newberry Springs
Community Alliance in early 2018 teamed with Newberry's CEQA-Now to
explore monitoring options. CEQA-Now's research recommended,
acquired and installed Newberry's first low-cost
in February 2018.
Pictured right is Newberry electrician
installing a PurpleAir in December
2018. CEQA-Now president, Bob Berkman, observes installation.
CEQA-Now's experience and follow-up discussions with
the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD) may have
encouraged the MDAQMD to acquire approximately three dozen PurpleAir
Monitors to meet requirements of California's
Assembly Bill 617.
The MDAQMD is scattering its limited number of units throughout its
vast regional territory. Fortunately, due to the interest shown
by Newberry Springs, the community has acquired two MDAQMD PurpleAir
One of the two MDAQMD PurpleAir units is
installed at the Newberry CSD building on the south end of Newberry
Road. The other is located at the fire department adjacent the
Newberry Springs Elementary School.
The PurpleAir monitors are relatively low cost
and do not have the calibrated accuracy of professional, high-priced
monitors costing tens of thousands of dollars, however, PurpleAirs
are amazingly accurate for their low price and relative precision.
The Newberry Springs Community Alliance has been working
to establish a north-south line of air quality monitors established in
Newberry so that a baseline can be established prior to the placement
of solar facilities upwind to the community. Therefore, in
cooperation with CEQA-Now, the NSCA has placed two additional PurpleAir
units, one on Mountain View Road adjacent the former Soitec solar facility
(unit named NSCA1) and one (named NSCA2) at the north end of Newberry Road.
Together, the current 5-units provides a wall of
monitor data which is instantly uploaded to a worldwide PurpleAir
which shows each PurpleAir unit. Clicking on a monitor site on the
map opens-up a separate information window for that location.
The website's data is updated every 80-seconds and the map is zoomable
providing Newberrians with worldwide air quality data.
The MDAQMD has also installed a PurpleAir monitor
at the Silver Valley High School and at the Barstow Courthouse.
In the relatively short span of 2018 when the
Community Alliance first addressed the need for monitors, monitors
have been erected. One or two high-end models for Newberry
are ideally needed to meet official standards.
The greatest current need is software to package
the data in a retrievable form that is understandable for long-term
study and archive.