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Air Quality in Putnam County

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been diligently investigating elevated readings of sulfur dioxide (SO2) at our ambient air quality monitor in Putnam County (Palatka), conducting multiple inspections of nearby facilities that are regulated for emissions of SO2, including Georgia-Pacific's Palatka Mill and Seminole Electric’s Generating Station, as well as reviewing operational data from these facilities. 

In reviewing the facility operations and requested data, no abnormalities that would result in increased or unusual emissions were observed. 

While this review was ongoing, DEP was also reviewing its monitor to ensure it was capturing accurate data. To assist in this, Georgia-Pacific installed a temporary SO2 monitor near the DEP’s ambient air monitor to further analyze the readings from the department’s monitor. After reviewing Georgia-Pacific's air data, which did not correlate with the department’s data, DEP conducted an onsite visit on March 8, 2023, and discovered that our monitor was malfunctioning and therefore recording inaccurate data. At this time, DEP believes the malfunction was the source of the readings indicating exceedances of the 1-hour National Ambient Air Quality Standards. The monitor was replaced March 9, 2023, and was operational that same day.  

While it was being replaced, Georgia Pacific’s monitor continued to collect and report reliable SO2 data to the department.  DEP will work with EPA to invalidate the erroneous data that was collected in February and early March.

The department values your input and concerns, and we encourage Floridians to keep up-to-date with the real-time air quality near their communities using DEP's website or the sites.

Last Modified:
March 11, 2024 - 8:18am

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