Published: Wednesday, 07 September 2022 20:33
The Colville Confederated Tribes (CCT) are seeking volunteers to host small PurpleAir monitors at locations near the Upper Columbia River (Lake Roosevelt). Click here to complete a quick questionnaire to see if you’re a good fit to be a host. Selected volunteers will join a citizen science cadre contributing to the health of you and your neighbors.
This is part of a two-year EPA Environmental Justice grant received by CCT. Said tribal consultant Whitney Fraser, “We envision 52 air monitoring stations being distributed as close to the river as possible.”
Data will be collected and shared real-time via the web and mapping technology. It’s a big win for residents affected by annual events like wildfires and dust storms. “At a glance,” said Fraser, “you can see whether air quality near where you live is of concern and whether to take precautions.”
Measuring the size and quantity of airborne particles, monitoring stations are the size of a camp stove. As the numbers increase, the risk to people increases as well. For those suffering from asthma and other respiratory ailments, this type of real-time information can allow people to take actions that limit their exposure to unhealthy air.
Working with the University of Washington, CCT is also trying to discern if it’s possible to identify a distinct “signature” from different readings. For instance, dust storms may have a distinctive ratio of particle size and quantity. Other examples would be wildfires, or industrial emissions from a smelter.
After the two-year grant period, Fraser hopes the network of monitors will remain active. The hard part according to Fraser is getting the volunteers and infrastructure in place. Once installed, they are fairly low-cost to maintain.
Please consider being a part of this important community-based air quality monitoring program.
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