The missoula valley semivolatile and volatile organic compound study: Seasonal average concentrations

Tony J. Ward, Raymond F. Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The city of Missoula is located in a high mountain valley (elevation 3200 ft) in western Montana and contains one of the largest populations in the entire Rocky Mountain Region completely enclosed by mountains. During the 2000/2001 Missoula Valley Sampling Program, ambient levels of 61 semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and 54 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were originally quantified before refining the analytical program to 28 of the most prominent SVOCs and VOCs found in the Missoula Valley airshed. These compounds were measured over 24-hr periods at two locations throughout an entire year. This study provides the first, comprehensive appraisal of the levels of SVOCs and VOCs measured simultaneously throughout all four seasons at two locations in the Missoula Valley, including those levels measured during the 2000 Montana wildfire season. Generally, SVOC levels were comparable between both sides of the Missoula Valley. However, there were nearly double the amount of VOCs measured at the more urban Boyd Park site compared with the rural Frenchtown sampling site, a result of the greater number of automobiles on the eastern side of the Valley. SVOCs and VOCs were measured at their highest levels of the sampling program during the winter. Forest fire smoke samples collected during the summer of 2000 showed significant increases in SVOC phenolic compounds, including phenol, 2-methylphenol, 4-methylphenol, and 2,4-dimethylphenol. Although there were modest increases in some of the other SVOCs and VOCs measured during the fire season, none of the increases were as dramatic as the phenolics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1007-1013
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2005


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