2000 Progress Report: Public Access to Environmental Monitoring Data in Tucson, Arizona

EPA Grant Number: R827052
Title: Public Access to Environmental Monitoring Data in Tucson, Arizona
Investigators: Grimaldi, Richard , Agyare, Kwame , Burgess, Jefferey L. , Comrie, Andrew C. , Comrie, Leonore , O'Rourke, Mary Kay
Current Investigators: Kramer, Ursula , Burgess, Jefferey L. , Byrd, Wayne , Comrie, Andrew C. , Comrie, Leonore , Gorman, Beth , Hines, Stefani , O'Rourke, Mary Kay
Institution: Pima County , University of Arizona
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: November 1, 1998 through October 31, 2000 (Extended to March 31, 2002)
Project Period Covered by this Report: November 1, 1999 through October 31, 2000
Project Amount: $485,100
RFA: Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) (1998) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Statistics , Water , Sustainability , Air , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration


Using air quality as the pilot medium, the overall objective of this project is to produce media and public communication programs about air quality, the Tucson environment, health concerns, and local solutions to improve air quality. This integrated, community-based program will: (1) collect and disseminate accurate, understandable, and timely air pollution information; (2) expand associated outreach and education programs to improve understanding of the relationships between air quality, climate, and health effects; and (3) allow the community to address local air pollution problems and solutions based on credible scientific information. This task has been divided into six key program objectives.

Progress Summary:

Objective 1: Establish a standardized format for the collection, archival, and reporting of data between agencies, including development of a mapping protocol. Quality assurance of monitoring data is being maintained by the Pima Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) through maintenance of standard quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) practices of the State and Local Air Monitoring Stations (SLAMS) network. This network is certified each year in a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The University of Arizona Geography Department continues to develop mapping protocols for presentation of ozone, particulate matter, and carbon monoxide ambient air data. These algorithms are being developed for mapping on a metropolitan area scale, a task that has not been accomplished by other researchers in the field. These maps will be integrated into the Web site, being developed under the project, by the end of the year. Several presentations have been given by university researchers at technical conferences on the products developed from this research.

Objective 2: Use innovative technologies to communicate regional real-time (e.g., hourly) air quality monitoring data to a linked public communication system (including Internet Web sites, phone-in information line, radio and television stations, and newspapers). PDEQ is in the process of converting from reporting ambient air quality monitoring data using the previous EPA-mandated Pollutant Standards Index (PSI), to the currently sanctioned Air Quality Index (AQI). Real-time data for ozone will be available by early September on the project Web site. An automated dial-up phone system will be installed in July to provide up-to-date phone access to AQI reports. PDEQ has updated the automated monitoring data acquisition system to facilitate both these efforts. Installation of this new software will begin in July. PDEQ has solicited bids for procurement of a digital camera system that will provide near real-time digital photos on the Web site, as an indicator of current visibility conditions. This system will be installed in August 2000. Plans are underway to provide current and historic ambient air monitoring data on the Web site by October 2000. Interpretive pages for good understanding of the AQI reports and visibility photos will be placed on the Web site in conjunction with the real-time data.

Objective 3: Provide coordinated outreach and training programs for teachers, media professionals and other stakeholders, with special emphasis on the areas with high asthma admissions. An education and outreach subcommittee has been set up, comprised of representatives from the PDEQ, Pima Association of Governments (PAG), the University of Arizona Southwest Health Sciences Center (SWEHSC), and the American Lung Association (ALA), to address outreach and training to provide necessary links in the communication of real-time environmental information. A marketing/communications plan has been developed as well as a telephone survey for input from teachers in targeted zip code areas. Curricula have been developed for use by teachers, and have been customized to meet State educational standards. The committee also has discussed and developed appropriate products to be used on the Internet.
Objective 4: Assemble, customize, and distribute curricula addressing the potential health risk of ambient airborne exposures in English and Spanish. Web-based descriptions of known health effects of airborne contaminants have been developed by personnel from the University of Arizona Environmental and Occupational Health unit, the University of Arizona Southwest Health Sciences Center (SWEHSC), and the American Lung Association. These materials will be translated into both English and Spanish. Web products will be assembled on the Web site once content designs have been finalized.

Objective 5: Conduct air quality studies in economically disadvantaged areas with high minority representation that are known to have increased rates of pediatric asthma and that have been traditionally underserved. Two new monitoring sites are being established in traditionally underserved areas as part of this project, to monitor for fine particulate matter and ozone. Electrical and telephone utilities have been installed at each site, and monitoring equipment has been purchased. The sites should begin real-time monitoring by the end of August 2000.

Objective 6: Enhance collection of air quality measurements by integrating regulatory compliance monitoring with complementary technologies such as visibility indexing. PDEQ will install a digital camera that will complement efforts currently being undertaken to measure urban haze and visibility in the Tucson area.

Future Activities:

The following future activities for each objective are planned:

Objective 1. Real-time maps for ozone, particulate matter, and carbon monoxide ambient air data will be developed and placed on the Web site by the end of the year 2000.

Objective 2. A digital camera system will be installed and operational by the end of the year to provide information on visibility and urban haze in the Tucson area. A voice dial-up system, and real-time and historic data, will be available by the end of the year 2000.

Objective 3. Media, teacher, and student training on the health effects related to ambient air pollutants will be conducted at the end of the year, when all the real-time products become available. The education/outreach committee will continue to develop outreach activities to meet this objective.

Objective 4. Web-based media will be placed on the Web site by the end of the year. This material will be translated in both English and Spanish.

Objective 5. Monitoring sites will begin operation by the end of August 2000.

Objective 6. A digital camera system to monitor visibility will be installed and operational by the end of the year.

Project dial-up voice phone line will be: 1-520-882-4AIR.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 11 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

ambient air, monitoring, ozone, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, health effects, sensitive populations, Southwest, Arizona, AZ., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, Geographic Area, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, climate change, State, Risk Assessments, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, Monitoring/Modeling, Environmental Monitoring, Children's Health, genetic susceptability, asthma, sensitive populations, EMPACT, air toxics, community-based approach, meteorology, airway disease, respiratory problems, public information, Human Health Risk Assessment, air pollution, children, human exposue, time-relevant monitoring, assessment of exposure, childhood respiratory disease, children's vulnerablity, Arizona (AZ), web site development, environmental toxicant, human susceptibility, community outreach, sampling, age dependent response, outreach and education, public health alerts, public outreach, air quality, environmental hazard exposures, toxics, atmospheric chemistry, real-time monitoring

Relevant Websites:

http://www.airinfonow.com Exit EPA icon
http://www.airinfonow.org Exit EPA icon

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 1999
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • Final Report