Final Report: The Tulsa Air and Water Quality Information SystemEPA Grant Number: R827963
Title: The Tulsa Air and Water Quality Information System
Investigators: Hamilton, Monica , Jeffries, Rhonda , Kurlkin, Joanne , Pinc, Gaylon , Potter, William , Purser, Jane
Institution: City of Tulsa , Indian Nations Council of Government , Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality , United States Geological Survey [USGS] , University of Tulsa
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: February 1, 2000 through December 31, 2001
Project Amount: $500,000
RFA: Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) (1999) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Statistics , Water , Ecosystems , Air , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration
The objective of the Tulsa Air and Water Quality Information System (TAWQIS) is to help people connect environmental data to their day-to-day lives and promote public involvement in environmental policy. To meet these objectives, the e-tulsa.net Web Site was created. The Site integrates and configures the data from all of the TAWQIS partners and provides a "one-stop-shop" for environmental information. In addition, air and water quality information has been incorporated into educational and awareness programs that are easy for the general public to use and understand. The environmental data are organized through TAWQIS, and disseminated through the educational programs of The Tulsa Clean Air Program and The Tulsa Clean Water Program.
Indian Nations Council of Government (INCOG). INCOG provides the common site for environmental information and serves as monitor of the program. Each Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) partner employs different methods and protocols for disseminating data. INCOG provides and coordinates the data integration consistent with the data standards established for the e-tulsa.net Web Site and works in concert with the EMPACT partners to provide public educational and community outreach programs that are understandable, relevant, and credible to the lay public.
The University of Tulsa. The Ozone Prediction Model provides ozone information in a fun, graphical, easy-to-read format. Smog City, the Site's interactive air pollution simulator, shows how the participant's choices, environmental factors, and land use contribute to air pollution. The site also links to more detailed source review information. Bio-aerosol and particulate monitoring data is easily searched and includes more general background information, as well as specifics for susceptible populations.
United States Geological Survey (USGS). Stream flow, lake, and quality data are provided using real-time reporting techniques developed according to national USGS standards. Location maps help the public locate sites of interest. The information from these sites clearly communicates time-relevant data for one of the largest cities in Oklahoma, assisting citizens make environmentally responsible decisions.
Water Quality. USGS augments current water quality data collection work for the City of Tulsa by providing real-time graphs of water quality data (dissolved oxygen concentrations, pH, temperature, and specific conductance) at Bird Creek sites near Sperry, Owasso, and at Highway 266, and of temperature of the Arkansas River at Tulsa. These data help to characterize the quality of water in the vicinity of Tulsa in a readily understandable manner. The real-time water quality graphs are interconnected by hyperlinks between the USGS, Oklahoma District, and e-tulsa.net Web Sites on the World Wide Web. Water quality and other environmental data collected for the project are integrated to provide a more complete understanding of environmental quality in the vicinity of the city. Stream-water standards are listed to provide reference information of the graphic presentation.
Water Flow Data. USGS links real-time discharge hydrographs to INCOG homepages, which provides stream-flow information about the effects of flooding and droughts and information for water-supply planning and design on local streams, rivers, and lakes.
Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ). ODEQ operates ozone-monitoring stations at five locations around Tulsa. Ozone data is collected hourly and reported on the e-tulsa.net Web Site as 1-hour values or 8-hour-averaged values. Users can access real-time air quality monitoring data by pollutant or site. In addition, users are given 10 tips on how they can make a difference in preventing high-ozone levels in Tulsa by reducing the output of pollutants into our air.
To enable the facilitation of this information, ODEQ utilized EMPACT funds to: (1) activate two additional ozone sites near the Tulsa area on an east/west axis to provide an adequate monitoring density for ozone mapping display purposes on the AIRNOW and ODEQ Web Sites; (2) upgrade the communications at the remaining Tulsa ozone sites; (3) install weather equipment and a NOy analyzer to facilitate study of Tulsa ozone data; and (4) upgrade the central polling computer hardware to improve communications with AIRNOW and Oklahoma Mesonet.
The Allergy Clinic of Tulsa. The Allergy Clinic initiated the Airwatch Program, in which selected patients evaluated their reaction to bio-aerosols and air pollutants twice daily using the Airwatch Peakflow System. Approximately 35 patients were selected to participate and submit data and reports on health function once per month. Data from the Airwatch Program was to be integrated into the e-tulsa.net Web Site using graphical representation. Several challenges, however, meant that the scope of the program had to be changed. The bankruptcy of the company analyzing the data, along with the large number of noncompliant patients rendered the data useless.
The Allergy Clinic posts the following information to the Web Site: (1) ways to decrease the amount of mold inside homes; (2) discussions regarding filters and vacuum cleaners; (3) the importance of humidity, its absence or presence, in regards to a healthy respiratory tract (both upper and lower respiratory tracts); (4) relative values of these found in the home as compared to other homes in Tulsa and as can be compared with what the outdoor counts were on the same day; and (5) the information regarding the techniques for improvement will be a link to the Academy and American Lung Association Web Site, but also will include some graphics that we will produce by taking actual photos of patients' homes regarding different types of filters, showing hardwood floors instead of carpet, etc.
The Allergy Clinic of Tulsa, in cooperation with the National Allergy Bureau (NAB), reports current pollen and mold spore levels as part of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's (AAAAI) Aeroallergen Network. The NAB works in cooperation with the ACAAI to provide timely allergen data to the media on a nationwide basis. ACAAI-certified counting stations, such as the one at the Allergy Clinic of Tulsa, provide the highest quality information available, which is available on the e-tulsa.net Exit Web Site.
City of Tulsa Public Works Department. The Department developed a comprehensive water education program for the e-tulsa.net Web Site. The program presents Tulsa-specific hydrologic cycle in six sections: meteorology, watersheds, drinking water treatment, water users, waste water treatment, and storm water runoff. EMPACT funding was used to contract the services of a graduate student who created a watershed "tour" using H2Jo, a character created to guide the tour. The tour targets teachers with information that can be used in their classrooms. The tour also is available on diskette for distribution to persons without Internet access.
The Web Site is promoted to teachers at state conventions and environmental fairs at schools and through the City of Tulsa's Wet in the City education program. Promotion to the general public occurs at a variety of environmental events during the month of April to commemorate Earth Day.
E-tulsa.net Exit , by pulling together the various environmental education and information, provides environmental information about our community to the public. It is the educational and dissemination components provided by e-tulsa.net that make the program a success. The Web Site is user-friendly, and the information is understandable to children and adults. The historical information and the related real-time connections allow users to become more educated about environmental issues in their community. The real-time air monitoring and forecast analysis developments will make air quality information available for personal decisions so that individuals can decide for themselves the significance of chemical air pollutants. Real-time water monitoring data can be better disseminated and understood throughout all of Northeastern Oklahoma. This information is important for developing the community's environmental awareness. In addition, the University of Tulsa and other area schools use the network information in conjunction with different classroom discussions (for example, Environmental Chemistry 4053, Chemistry in Society 1043, and Environmental Geology 4113).