Commercial production of ethanol in the San Luis Valley, Colorado. Final Report Page: 74 of 222
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fan, which is separate from the others, has a 40 kilometer (25 mi) radius. Debris depos-
ited by erosion of the surrounding mountains fills the valley depression to a depth of
about 3050-5800 meters (10,000 to 19,000 feet). This debris consists of gravel, sand,
silt and clay, lava flows and other volcanic debris. The five physiographic areas com-
prising the San Luis Basin are described in detail in Section 3.1.
The San Luis Valley experiences cold winters, relatively cool summers and
low precipitation. The mean annual temperature is 6.40C (43.60F). In the summer
months the high temperature generally is in the mid-20s (0C) (mid-80s (OF)), with lows
of near 40C (400F). Strong winds with occasional blowing dust occur in the spring and
early summer. July and August are the only months free of frost. The growing season
averages 110 days. In the winter, winds are light but low temperatures of -260C
(-150F) to -340C (-300F) are frequent.
Average annual rainfall varies depending on the elevation. On the valley
floor, precipitation averages 18-25 centimeters (7 to 10 inches) per year. The foothills
area receives an average of 23-36 centimeters (9 to 14 inches) per year. The average
rainfall is highest in August. In the summer months, hailstorms are frequent.
22.214.171.124 Air Quality
The U.S. Department of Interior's Final Environmental Statement for the
Closed Basin Division of the San Luis Valley Project, issued in 1979, contains infor-
mation about air quality in the valley. The report describes the valley as a "closed air
basin" characterized by inversions, minimal air flow and lack of a southern outlet. The
limited air flow results in frequent inversions during which pollutants accumulate.
According to the Air Pollution Control Division of the Colorado Depart-
ment of Health, particulates constitute the primary air pollutant in the valley. Sources
include incineration of solid wastes, vehicle exhaust emissions, fuel combustion from
stationary sources, home heating emissions, agricultural burning and forest fires
(U.S. Department of Interior, 1979). Fugitive dust is also a factor in the high particu-
late levels sometimes present in the valley.
Appendix A to this report contains air quality standards set by the State
of Colorado as part of its plan for attaining and maintaining the National Ambient Air
Quality Standards. Table 3-5 lists particulate measurements for Alamosa obtained by
high volume sampling. Note that in 1980 the particulate measurement exceeded federal
and state standards for the first time. The Air Pollution Control Division does not
monitor gaseous pollutants in the San Luis Valley area.
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Hewlett, E.M.; Erickson, M.V.; Ferguson, C.D.; Sherwood, P.B.; Boswell, B.S.; Walter, K.M. et al. Commercial production of ethanol in the San Luis Valley, Colorado. Final Report, report, July 1, 1983; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc874948/m1/74/: accessed September 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.