New grant to use low-cost sensors in a community-based study of hazardous air pollutants associated with fracking in California’s Central Valley

We just received a grant from the New World Foundation through the 11th Hour Project’s pooled fund.  The new grant will allow us to use Internet-connected low-cost sensors to investigate hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) in California’s Central Valley.  This community-initiated study led by Clean Water Action, involves multiple partners working collectively to examine hazardous air pollution in a region where unconventional oil and gas extraction, such as fracking occurs. My research group at the University of Washington is pleased to support the project by providing the sensor technology and data analytics for the study.  By using a distributed network of real-time sensors, advanced algorithms to pinpoint air pollution episodes, and targeted measurement of multiple HAPs associated with fracking, we hope to improve understanding of exposures to toxic air in communities next to unconventional oil and gas extraction.

This project builds upon other community-engaged studies that we and other organisations are conducting, which includes establishing a large-scale community-run PM2.5 and PM10 monitoring network in Imperial County, CA.  As with our other studies, active engagement and grassroots participation of community residents will likely be the key to this new project’s success.