By Esteban Herrera, Gayle Hagler and John White
We have been busy for a few years with the Village Green Project, exploring new ways of measuring air pollution using next generation air quality technology put into a park bench. After testing our first Village Green station in Durham, N.C., we are now in the process of building and installing new stations with some design improvements and modifications.
The Village Green Project expansion is being made possible with the support of state and local partners across the country. Five new locations for stations have been selected through a nationwide proposal process open to local and state air monitoring agencies.
Today, EPA announced the partners and location for the new stations and held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Philadelphia, Pa. for one of the five stations.
The Village Green Project has many benefits. It enables EPA’s scientists to further test their new measurement system, built into a park bench, and it provides an opportunity for the public and students to learn more about the technology and local air quality.
Each station provides data every minute on two common air pollutants – fine particle pollution and ozone – and weather conditions such as wind speed and direction, temperature, and relative humidity. The data are automatically streamed to the Village Green Project web page. You can access the data generated by stations as they come on line at www.epa.gov/villagegreen. As members of a team working on the Village Green Project at EPA, we have been doing a lot of coordination and tackled some difficult scientific challenges to get this project launched. But it is all coming together as we get the stations installed. We think it will be a great opportunity for educational outreach and to showcase some new capabilities for communities to learn more about their local air quality. These monitoring stations will enable communities to get information about nearby sources of air pollution that can impact local air quality.
The five station locations being installed in 2015 as part of the local and state partnership are:
- Philadelphia, Pa. – the station is located in Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia owned by the National Park Service.
- Washington, D.C. – the station is located in a children’s area at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park.
- Kansas City, Kan.- the station is located outside of the new South Branch public library in Kansas City.
- Hartford, Conn. – the station will be located outside of the Connecticut Science Center and will be installed in the summer or early fall of 2015.
- Oklahoma City, Okla. – the station will be located in the children’s garden of the Myriad Botanical Gardens and will be installed in the summer or early fall of 2015.
So what is next? We are excited about the expansion of the Village Green Project and hope to learn how some of the new system features perform, such as a combined wind and solar power system we’re using for more northern locations. We hope the project will provide more knowledge about how to build and operate next generation air quality measurement systems for use by communities. Please stay tuned for more updates from the Village Green Project team members as we continue our learning journey.
About the Authors: Esteban Herrera is an environmental engineer and project lead for the Village Green Project. Gayle Hagler is an environmental engineer who studies air pollutant emissions and measurement technologies. John White is leading the effort of expanding AirNow’s capabilities to handle one-minute data, including data from the Village Green stations.