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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA awards $750,000 for air monitoring sensors in Southern California

Technology will be used to help tackle local air quality challenges

Contact Information: 
Soledad Calvino (Calvino.Maria@epa.gov)

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a $749,820 grant to the South Coast Air Quality Management District, in Diamond Bar, to engage, educate, and empower California communities on the use and applications of low-cost air monitoring sensors.

The District will collaborate with the University of California, Los Angeles, on the use, accuracy, and application of low-cost air monitoring sensors, which will be deployed at six communities throughout California, specifically targeting communities near specific sources of air pollution.

“Through these projects, scientists and communities will join together to develop and test new low-cost, portable, easy-to-use ways to measure air pollution,” said Thomas A. Burke, EPA science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. “This research will provide tools communities can use to understand air pollution in their neighborhoods and improve public health.”

The results of this work will help identify strengths and weaknesses of utilizing low-cost air sensors in communicating air quality to communities, and lead to strategies to engage communities in future projects. The project will develop a toolkit with best practices for data collection and data interpretation from these sensors. This toolkit will promote appropriate use of air quality sensors and help communities use sensors to answer questions about air quality.

“We are pleased to accept this grant from the EPA,” said Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD’s Acting Executive Officer. “Through this research, we will be able to identify the best opportunities for utilizing low-cost air pollution sensors to communicate air quality issues to impacted communities.”

While recent advances in technology have led to the development of low-cost air pollution sensors, they have not been widely tested, especially under field conditions. These grants will help fund research projects that explore how scientific data can be effectively gathered and used by communities to learn about local air quality. The grantees will also study the accuracy of data produced by sensors and sensor networks. For example, they will compare sensor data to established monitoring technologies that are currently used to support air quality regulations.

The grant is one of six totaling $4.5 million going to research organizations for development and use of low-cost air pollution sensor technology, and community outreach to help communities learn about their local air quality.

More about the grant recipients: https://www.epa.gov/research-grants/air-research-grants

More information on EPA’s air, climate and energy research: http://www.epa.gov/airresearch