DNR Opens Air Quality Data From 13 Sand Mines

DNR sand mine air quality reporting map
The DNR's Air Monitoring Map for industrial sand mining/processing plants.

Air pollution data from thirteen of Wisconsin’s sand mines and processing plants can now be found online at the website of the state’s Department of Natural Resources.

Concerned citizens have filed a lot of open records requests with the DNR, asking for monitoring data from industrial sand mines and processors. People especially want to know about fine particles blowing off the sites and toward the neighbors, as breathing the particulates can cause lung problems.

The DNR’s Gail Good says there’s now an online map, where anyone with a computer can look up the data collected by some of the companies.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“The facility sets up the monitor, collects the filters — they use federally approved methods to do this — and they send the filters out for analysis,” Good said, “then they report their data back to the department and we do some quality assurance on the data.”

Good says quality assurance means looking to see if the data seems valid. The DNR also does an annual audit of the monitors.

Good acknowledges the website only has data from 13 Wisconsin sites with permits that require the air monitoring. She says dozens of generally smaller sand mines don’t have to collect and report the air pollution data.