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Air Sensor Toolbox

Community Air Monitoring Where You Live in EPA Region 4

Community air monitoring projects that use air sensor technology to monitor air quality in EPA’s Region 4 are providing the public with more information on the quality of the air they breathe.

EPA's Region 4 serves Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennnessee and several tribal nations. 

Village Green Project in Durham, North Carolina

EPA is collaborating with Durham County in North Carolina to operate a Village Green air monitoring station developed by researchers. EPA installed the station outside the Durham County South Regional Library where it is used for educational outreach activities with nearby schools and library programs for children and other patrons. 

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 participate in science and learn about local air quality. 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. 

Related Resources

Village Green Project

Cityspace Air Sensor Network Project in Memphis, TN

The CitySpace project is a research effort by EPA to field test new, lower- cost air pollution sensors in a mid-sized city.  The goal of this project is to understand how this emerging technology can add valuable information on air pollution patterns on a neighborhood-scale. 

What is being done?

This study plans to build approximately 20 sensor nodes for deployment in the Memphis, Tennessee area.  Each node will include a particulate matter (PM) sensor as well as several meteorological sensors (temperature, humidity, and wind).  The data recordings will occur each minute and be wirelessly transmitted using cellular communication to an EPA server.  The sensor study is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2016. 

Several criteria will guide the research team’s decisions on where to place the sensor nodes, including community member input, data comparison of several nodes with the existing regulatory monitors, predicted local-scale air pollution patterns, and placement logistics.  EPA will also coordinate with the local county and state organizations. 

Once located, the nodes will remain in place for approximately six months to collect an extensive amount of data.  Measuring each minute, the project is anticipated to produce up to 30 million data values for analysis of local-scale air pollution and weather patterns. EPA will present preliminary and final results of the study to community partners.

This project is supported by EPA’s Region 4, 5 and 7 offices.

What are the benefits?  

The air sensor data collected by the Cityspace project is anticipated to provide novel information on air pollution in a city. The findings will help state and local air monitoring agency to design air monitoring networks in the future and provide valuable information for how best to measure local air quality in cities and in the use of wireless networks to transmit data.