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Data visualization tool: frequently asked questions

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What is this data visualization tool?

The data visualization tool is a publicly available website where users can view and download data for stationary sources (factories, businesses, etc.) of air pollution. Users can view sources of emissions using the interactive map on the top half of the webpage. They can also view emission data on an annual basis by using the bar graph on the bottom half of the webpage. Users can also download data into a spreadsheet format.  

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Where can I find the tool?

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What data is presented in the tool?

The data presented in this tool comes from the Air Pollutant Emission Notices (APENs) that are submitted by companies for each reportable emission point they own and operate. This data is for stationary sources of pollution. Boilers, gas stations, power plants, oil & gas operations and gravel mines are just a few examples of stationary sources that are reported to the Air Pollution Control Division.  

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Why is APEN data being used?

Data from APENs is the most abundant data available from the Air Pollution Control Division. This data has been gathered for over 35 years and currently represents around 14,000 active facilities and approximately 43,000 emission points around the state. 

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Does the tool display every stationary emission source in Colorado?

The tool displays information on all stationary emission sources that are subject to Colorado state regulations and federal regulations. However, there may be small sources that are below reporting thresholds which will not be found on this tool. Another example of sources that will not be displayed on this tool are any emission sources which reside on tribal land. This is because the Air Pollution Control Division does not have jurisdiction over sources and activities on tribal land. Instead, those emission sources are reported to the tribal land authorities.  

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How often does the data change?

Sources are required to submit new APENs every 5 years, or at the time of a change in the equipment or operation. Some APEN data may be very recent, while others may be a few years old.  

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When was the last time the data was updated on the tool?

The data used for the visualization tool is updated on a daily basis and reflects the most recent information received by the Air Pollution Control Division. 

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When was the last time the data was updated for a facility?

The “Data Year” of a facility will give an indication of the last time that an APEN was submitted, or a change was made to the facility emissions. For example, a “Data Year” value of 2020 means that the facility submitted data for emissions released in calendar year 2020. Since this is the latest information received by the Air Pollution Control Division, we consider this to be the current emission totals as well.

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How do I access documents (permits, inspections, etc.) for a facility?

After selecting a location, the user can hover their mouse cursor over a facility, which will provide additional information to the user. This information will contain things like the AIRS ID of the facility, the facility name and emission totals. In addition, users will find a link to facility documents. Clicking on this link will take the user to all of the documents in OnBase, which is the records management system used by the Air Pollution Control Division. From here, users can view documents related to the facility. See Chapter 6 of the Data Visualization Guidebook for more information.  

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Which pollutants are displayed on the visualization tool?

Currently the tool displays all of the criteria pollutants. These pollutants are volatile organic compounds (VOC), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), particulate matter (PT), particulate matter under 10 microns (PM10), particulate matter under 2.5 microns (PM2.5) and lead.  

 

The data displayed is in tons per year (TPY). Very small amounts (<100 lbs) may not render well in the graph, but precise amounts for individual facilities can be found in the APENs that have been submitted. Those APENs can be found by selecting the link for facility records.

 

Additionally, the tool displays BTEX emissions. BTEX is a summation of 4 hazardous air pollutants. Those 4 pollutants are benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes. For greater visibility, these pollutants have been combined into one value on the legend and in the bar graph.  

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Will more data be added?

Yes. As more data sources are linked to our cloud environment, more data will be added to the visualization. Additional data visualization tools may be created to accommodate other data sources as well.  

 

As the project progresses, other data sources will be added and the data will be made available.  

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How can I get help in using this data visualization tool?

A guidance manual has been created to assist with this tool. The guidance manual can be found here.  

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How is this data used by the Air Pollution Control Division?

This data is used throughout the Air Pollution Control Division for permit generation, inspection and compliance determinations, regulatory applicability and emission fee generation. The Air Pollution Control Division is a cash funded organization, which means that they issue invoices to fund their programs instead of relying on tax or grant money. The majority of funds received by the division comes from the invoices sent to companies for the emissions that they release.  

How can I provide feedback?

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