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American Ingenuity on Display at Next Gen Tech Demo Day

2014 August 13
Cynthia Giles

August 13, 2014
3:35 pm EDT

•Administrator McCarthy, then-Deputy Administrator Perciasepe and Assistant Administrator Giles learn about water pollution monitoring technology.

Administrator McCarthy, then-Deputy Administrator Perciasepe and Assistant Administrator Giles learn about water pollution monitoring technology.


I’ve been talking a lot about the impact and promise of EPA’s Next Generation Compliance strategy. As a vital program to reduce pollution, build transparency and save costs, it has become a driving force to unleash American ingenuity and innovation. This was certainly evident last week, when EPA hosted a “Next Generation Compliance Advanced Monitoring Tech Demo Day” that convened some of the latest advances in pollution monitoring across the country. Walking through the event with Administrator McCarthy and then-Deputy Administrator Perciasepe was so much fun, not to mention inspiring. EPA, academia, industry and non-profit organizations presented so many solutions there, each with a unique approach to solve complex pollution challenges.

Here’s a quick recap of what we saw.

Air pollution data is collected on small sensors and displayed on screen.

Air pollution data is collected on small sensors and displayed on screen.

First we stopped by the “Kids Making Sense” exhibit by Sonoma Technology and HabitatMap to check out air particulate sensors that demonstrate data through crowd sourcing. Yes, it’s as cool as it sounds! These “AirBeam” sensors fit in the palm of your hand. Taking a stroll down the street, the system records air pollution levels in real time. The data is transmitted to a central website where pollution levels are displayed on a computer screen – tracing your footsteps with red for higher levels of pollution, and green for lower levels. The variance in pollution from one area to the next astonished me!

A laptop computer displays geospatial mapping data.

A laptop computer displays geospatial mapping data.

Next, we stopped by an exhibit from researchers at Clemson University showcasing a program called Intelligent River®. This technology is used today to monitor for water pollutants in river basins, through a network of sensors that can cover an expansive geographic area. The variety of ways this technology presents and analyzes data impressed me – whether it’s through telemetry platforms, advanced data processing and storage systems, wireless transmission technology, or visualization and analytics tools.

Moving along, we visited our EPA Region 5 colleagues presenting geospatial mapping technologies. Some of our agency’s talented environmental scientists have developed a device that mounts on a vehicle to measure air pollutants in real time, downwind from potential sources. The data is displayed on a laptop computer inside the vehicle and can be overlaid on Google Earth to show the concentrations of pollutants in any given community. It’s already used today to measure concentrations in communities and the resulting benefits from settlements between EPA and regulated facilities.

As you can tell, we’ve come a long way in monitoring for pollution. These are just three examples of the 17 exhibits displayed at the Tech Demo day. Other technologies on display included infrared cameras used to view industrial flares, smartphone enabled radiation monitoring – used by citizens following Fukushima, and wearable sensors to measure toxic contaminants in air, water, and soil and to assess personal exposure to particles and gases in air. Seeing the technologies, hearing from the developers, and testing them in real-world settings reinforced to me just how much we can accomplish through Next Gen. It’s not about looking into the future anymore. Next Gen is protecting communities today.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations.

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. US open tennis tournament permalink
    August 23, 2014

    Keep sharing more and more new things. Definitely it will help me.

  2. Barbara Mayo Harris permalink
    August 28, 2014

    No Justice, No Peace!
    What does it take to get a toxic oil spill site tested in a minority community in the 2200 block of W. 11th St. Chester Township, PA where a resident has died and 3 inspectors have found those fumes still rising in the basement of the attached twin home from a 2001 oil spill that filled both basements.
    Said findings confirmed the dead owners claim she smelt those fumes for year following the spill of oil into our basements. However Chester Township Board of Directors Stanly Kessler demolished my property and hid said on going danger to residents environmental health and safety illegally using CDBGF’s to hurt me. They not only refused to test said fumes and oil prior to demolition but, also requested PA DEP not test in these homes. Then they endangered the lives of residents and demolition workers failing to follow Hazardous Waste rules and regulations during said demolition.
    EPA and PA DEP were notified of the 2001 oil spill and fake release, they failed to monitor Sunoco, Inc.’s and Ace Insurances Corrective Procedures and refused to take control of remediation, refused to hold the oil company responsible for the fake release without a DEP sign off, failed to allow me government funds so I could remediate because it was not declare a disaster area by EPA/PA DEP.
    Why no laws to protect owners in residential neighborhoods, if the oil company has the money to shut down the justice system as they did for us “tough cookies” cause EPA and PA DEP will not interfere. It’s “May the Rich Oil Executive Do Their Thing”!
    Sorry your home is not in navigable waters, Sorry it is not in the forest, Sorry no one walked out on the lawn and dropped dead as animals & fish do, Sorry-No See, Report went out to NRC, PEMA, EPA, PADEP, Responders were PECO, Twp. Police & Fire Depts, Brookhaven Fire Dept.
    Excel Landscaping & Township officials, None follow-up that’s sad for you, Nothing Done, Sorry you can not report this, only the oil company/spiller can and obviously EPA and PA DEP do not investigate in minority communities. Help! Help! Help! Plastic oil on the roof line warning residents and years of complaints just isn’t enough to bring EPA and PA DEP’s equipment in to minority neighborhoods to test a toxic oil spill site, not even when the spillers agents admit guilt in depositions.
    I challenge you to investigate this August 2012 demolition to hurt a senior citizen who failed refuse to rent a toxic home nor accept hush money to not discuss this and the shutting down of the Justice System the entire Twenty First Century.

    I tried to save the life to the victim who had no money to leave her home vacant after we were give fake releases with no hat owner refused to rent due to that onoing danger , tested and toxic fumes and oil found still rising in the basement of a home for more than a decade?
    emediated in the United States It is time for EPA to assist minority oil spill victims owners and residents in the who were given fake release violating Access Agreements for Act II site remediation without a DEP sign off and test this toxic site. My vacant building’s writing and plastic oil on its roof line warned residents and reminded township official these homes are toxic angered officials to do a Christy administration type of retaliation to hurt me. August of 2012 they demolished my property with CDBGF’s to hid visible evidence of oil and fumes 3 inspectors found still rising in the basement for a 2001 oil spill. After going on a crime spree violating the USA Patriot Act, my Fourth Amendment Rights, trespassing with a key from a locksmith, 2 unserved warrants which they deceived Judge Horace Davis to secure and condemned my building secure 100% vinyl ranch style home with no exposed wood without ever requesting and inspection then failed/refused to provide me with a list of repair with time to abate. PA DEP and township official both failed refused to test the toxic fumes in the basements of the two twin homes.

  3. Tom permalink
    September 6, 2014

    This has nothing to do with the topic on hand, but I wonder who I should contact due to a potential groundwater contamination within my neighborhood? We’ve had a rash of 40 and 50 year old dying of cancer over the past 5 years and folks are a little concerned…Thanks.

    Tom Stanley
    West Chester, PA

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