The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with Durham County, N.C., announced the Village Green Project that will make local air quality conditions available in real time to the public for research and educational purposes. The research project involves the installation and testing of a solar-powered air monitoring system that measures pollutants.
EPA built the system into a bench and installed it at the Durham County South Regional Library. Citizens can learn about the system and air quality at the air monitoring station and through programs developed by the library.
The air monitoring system incorporates new sensor technology, solar panels as an energy source and other state-of-the-art features. It will measure three types of air pollutants –ozone, fine particle pollution (PM2.5) and black carbon on a minute-by-minute basis. At elevated levels, ozone and particle pollution can cause a variety of health problems. Black carbon also contributes to adverse health effects because it contains particles.
The system also measures weather conditions including wind speed and direction, temperature, and relative humidity, which are important for understanding air quality.
Study results will be used to advance air quality measurement tools and capabilities. The system is designed to be lower cost and low maintenance for replication by states, tribes and communities to support their air quality monitoring needs.
The public can view the real-time data at the monitoring station using their smartphone and online at EPA’s website, http://villagegreen.epa.gov.