Community Air Monitoring Where You Live in EPA Region 1
Community air monitoring projects that use air sensor technology to monitor air quality in EPA’s Region 1 are providing the public with more information on the quality of the air they breathe.
EPA's Region 1 serves Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and ten Tribal Nations.
Village Green Project in Hartford, Connecticut
EPA is collaborating with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in Hartford, CT, to operate a Village Green air monitoring station developed by EPA researchers for use by the public to learn about local air quality. The Village Green station is installed outside the Connecticut Science Center and near a major roadway.
The station is collecting minute-to-minute air quality data on ozone and fine particle pollution and weather conditions and providing a live stream of the measurements to the Village Green web page for public access.
Community-based monitoring technology such as the Village Green station provides new ways for the public to learn about local air quality and participate in science. The real-time data measured by the stations can be used in projects by citizen scientists, students, community organizations and researchers to understand air quality and how events such as weather changes or nearby sources of air pollution can change local conditions.
Citizen Science Project in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico
The Tallaboa/Encarnación community in Puerto Rico is committed to improving air quality for the thousands of residents who suffer from the cumulative impacts of multiple pollution sources. In 2012, the Public Health Department at the Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) released an epidemiological study conducted in the neighborhood that revealed elevated rates of asthma among neighbors, attributed in part to the community’s proximity to heavy industries, legal and illegal toxic waste sites, toxic air emissions and a highway.
The citizen science project will assess the effectiveness of citizen science air monitoring for delivering outdoor air quality data to a Spanish-speaking U.S. Caribbean community as a way to increase awareness of air quality and reduce exposures to air pollution.
What is being done?
A local community action group will work with the local citizens to collect air quality data using EPA-loaned sensors, validate collected data and summarize environmental findings.
EPA will provide:
- Several stationary air sensor monitors, built by EPA researchers for community volunteers, that will collect data on two common air pollutants: total volatile organic compounds (tVOC) and fine particle pollution (PM2.5);
- A day-long training on sensor design, use, and safety;
- Detailed guidance on instrument siting and operation;
- Software for data recovery, processing, visualization and interpretation, and;
- A template and guidance manual for developing a quality assurance plan to ensure that the data collected are meaningful and appropriate for their intended use.
What are the benefits?
Tallaboa/Encarnación residents will be able to investigate pollutants of concern and learn about pollution sources. The project is also expected to increase community awareness about air quality issues.
The effort will further EPA’s goal of building community capacity for environmental monitoring through the development of citizen science tools. These tools can then be shared with communities that have similar air quality concerns. The project will serve as a model for other communities across the country to learn about using next generation air monitoring equipment and conducting citizen science projects.