Stage 1 fire restrictions, enacted for unincorporated areas of western Boulder County.

Air Monitoring
trail in south Boulder

Air Quality Monitoring in Boulder County

Marshall Fire & Air Quality

Atmospheric Monitoring

Atmospheric monitoring at Boulder Reservoir will help Boulder County officials to understand more about how oil and gas emissions are affecting ozone levels. It will also provide a baseline against which to measure potential increases in future local and regional oil and gas emissions.

This monitoring provides near real-time measurements of concentrations of different gases. This data measures the impact of gases common to oil and gas operations on ozone.

Monitoring tracks the presence of:

This monitoring project is part of a multi-pronged approach to address the harmful impacts of oil and gas development in Boulder County on:

  • Air
  • Water
  • Quality of life

The Boulder County Commissioners are funding this project. Boulder County Public Health is sponsoring it. Researchers from the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado will conduct the monitoring in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE).

Leak Inspection & Repair at Oil & Gas Well Sites

Boulder County Voluntary Inspection Program Results 2014–2016

Public concern has grown in Boulder County regarding the health and safety implications of emissions from oil and gas activity. Boulder County has implemented a voluntary oil and gas inspection program in order to respond to this concern. Inspections have collected data on gaseous leaks and repairs since 2014, and an analysis of this data is now available:

Air Quality Variations in Boulder County

Local oil and gas production has more than doubled since 2000 with more likely to come. The Denver Metro area has gone over the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone since 2004.

Ozone forms in the atmosphere through a series of chemical reactions involving volatile organic compounds (VOC) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Despite efforts to regulate ozone pollution, levels in Denver and the Front Range are often above national health standards.

Boulder County’s air quality is complex because it is located where the following meet:

  • The heavily urbanized City of Denver
  • Weld County oil and gas development
  • The rural wilderness of the Rocky Mountains

Downtown Boulder, with its dense vehicle traffic, has elevated levels of air pollution common to vehicle exhaust. In Longmont, locations near oil and gas development have shown elevated levels of pollutants found in gasoline vapor and natural gas condensate.

Monitoring helps us to better manage and reduce air pollution.

Home Gas Detection

Natural gas can exist in rock and soil. These gases can filter into buildings and homes. A home gas detector can measure the amount of gas in a home’s air. When selecting a home gas detector, make sure:

  • The detector meets UL Standard 1484 for residential gas detectors
  • It plugs in to a standard outlet and has a backup battery in case of power loss
  • All manufacturer’s directions are followed and include:
    • Detailed directions for proper installation
    • Detailed instructions for how to respond to the alarm
  • The detector is replaced at least as often as manufacturer recommends (often up to five years)

Recommended Detectors

The following detectors meet the criteria above:

  • First Alert Plug-In Explosive Gas and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Digital Display
  • KIDDE KN-COEG-3 Nighthawk Plug-In Carbon Monoxide and Explosive Gas Alarm with Battery Backup

Contact Us

Air Quality Program

Main: 303-441-1564
Submit a question


3450 Broadway
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Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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