Adams County Health Department (ACHD) Supports Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s Recent Action to Protect Clean Air for All

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) announced the largest state enforcement package against a single facility for air pollution violations to Suncor refinery in Commerce City. Suncor must pay at least $10.5 million toward penalties and projects due to air pollution violations from July 2019 through June 2021. This action is a step toward holding Suncor more accountable for past violations and requires the refinery to take steps to prevent future violations.

In a separate action, CDHPE ensured more data and transparency in Suncor’s air pollution monitoring around the facility’s fence line. Suncor must double the number of air pollution monitors compared to the refinery’s original fence line monitoring plan. 

“Adams County Health Department’s priority is to protect the health and safety of Adams County residents,” Brian Hlavacek, ACHD’s Environmental Health Division Director, said. “We applaud CDPHE for taking action to hold polluters accountable and to protect residents living near the Suncor facility from environmental injustices. ACHD is committed to working with residents, community-based organizations, and local, state, and federal government organizations to bring about change and to address past and ongoing environmental justice issues.”  

ACHD has received U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funding to expand its community air monitoring program, called Love My Air, designed to raise awareness of air quality issues in Adams County to protect residents from harmful air pollutants. ACHD is also developing a new multi-year strategic plan with portions of the plan focused on community engagement and environmental justice concerns.

“The Love My Air program expands air-quality monitoring by using low-cost, cutting-edge air pollution sensor technology, equipped with solar, battery storage, and data connectivity,” Hlavacek said. “This program aims to inform, educate, and create changes that will allow all of us to love our air.”

The air monitors measure for a common air pollutant – particulate matter (PM2.5). This is a very fine particle, about 30 times smaller than a strand of hair. PM2.5 comes from vehicle emissions, construction, industries, forest fires, residential burning, and agricultural burning.

CDPHE’s and ACHD’s actions support ongoing work to protect clean air for all to ensure accountability and compliance with air regulations, and to keep local communities informed. 

About Adams County Health Department 
Adams County Health Department (ACHD) officially launched in January 2023 as the county’s first ever, single county-focused local public health agency. ACHD is responsible for promoting and protecting the health of all residents in Adams County through a variety of programs and services and believes the successful pursuit of public health requires an understanding of community and a shared future. ACHD focuses on a wide range of public health issues, including social determinants of health, disease prevention and control, maternal and child health, mental and behavioral health, food access, and environmental health. The department also works closely with community partners to address specific health concerns and to improve overall health outcomes for residents. Stay up to date on the latest ACHD news and information on adamscountyhealthdepartment.orgFacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

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