Durango Air Quality Data

Most of Durango’s surrounding area is considered a Class I Airshed – meaning that, on the whole, we have really nice air. The only divergence from the Class I Airshed designation is the several sources of pollution emitted by the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

The South Side of Durango’s Downtown has long suffered from Train pollution, especially at night when families spend most of their time at home. The Durango Trains burn coal all night long, and then the prevailing winds push this plume of smoke south and east over what has historically been the only Latino area in Durango. Additionally, the South Side Train Smoke corridor is home to the majority of the subsidized housing in Durango, and home to many students and elderly, making the South Side of Durango one of the most vulnerable, and historically underrepresented areas in Durango. As a result, the nighttime air quality of Durango’s South Side of downtown is worse than Beijing’s.

Note in the charts below that the EPA considers PM10 levels over 60ppm to be the limit past which people will start to see negative health effects. The Durango Train’s smoke at night is often over 300ppm, making it some of the worst nighttime air quality in the country.

Additionally, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad started what became known as The 416 Fire on June 1, 2018, resulting in even worse air quality, and for a much larger group of people.

Note the levels exceeded 700ppm for Particulate Matter over 10nm (PM10)