Grantee Research Project Results
Final Report: Engage, Educate, and Empower California Communities on the Use and Applications of Low-cost Air Monitoring SensorsEPA Grant Number: R836184
Title: Engage, Educate, and Empower California Communities on the Use and Applications of Low-cost Air Monitoring Sensors
Investigators: Polidori, Andrea , Zhu, Yifang , Fine, Philip M. , Tisopulos, Laki , Dye, Timothy S , Hafner, Hilary
Institution: South Coast Air Quality Management District , University of California - Los Angeles , Sonoma Technology, Inc.
EPA Project Officer: Callan, Richard
Project Period: May 1, 2016 through April 30, 2019 (Extended to April 30, 2022)
Project Amount: $749,820
RFA: Air Pollution Monitoring for Communities (2014) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice , Air Quality and Air Toxics , Air , Particulate Matter
The overall objective of the proposed research was to provide California communities with the knowledge necessary to appropriately select, use, and maintain “low-cost” sensors and to correctly interpret sensor data. This was accomplished by pursuing the following four specific aims: (1) develop new methodologies to educate and engage communities on the use and applications of “low-cost” sensors; (2) conduct testing to characterize the performance of commercially available “low-cost” sensors and to identify candidates for field deployment; (3) deploy the selected sensors in California communities, and interpret the collected data; and (4) communicate the lessons learned to the public through a series of outreach activities.
Aim 1: To engage residents, South Coast AQMD partnered with 14 communities, expanded from the initially proposed six communities. After establishing relationships with community leads, South Coast AQMD designed and conducted a series of four workshops in each community to provide background information, training on sensor installation and use, distribute the sensors, and discuss the data. Feedback was collected from the community participants throughout the project both formally (e.g., through surveys) and informally (through discussions). This feedback, the materials developed, and other experiences and lessons learned shaped the development of the key output of this work: "Community in Action: A Comprehensive Educational Toolkit on Air Quality Sensors" (https://www.aqmd.gov/aq-spec/special-projects/star-grant). The Sensor Educational Toolkit includes a guidebook, three training videos, data analysis and visualization tools, and resources and documents developed during the STAR Grant project (e.g., workshop slides, surveys and forms, installation guides, infographics, and reports created by communities). Together these materials offer direction and support for all stages of community-based sensor projects: background information on air pollution and measurement methods, project planning (incl. sensor selection), project implementation (incl. deployment, QC, troubleshooting, and analysis), and project follow-up (e.g., guidance for community action informed by the data collected). Responding to a need for more accessible and useful data, identified in discussions with community partners, South Coast AQMD initiated additional contract work with Mazama Science to develop an R-based open-source package and web-based data viewer. Thus, the AirSensor package and DataViewer tool were created to support data access, analysis, and visualization for PurpleAir PA-II sensors (Feenstra et al., 2020; Collier-Oxandale et al., 2022a). The AirSensor package has been reviewed and is available on the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN).
Aim 2: In the first two years of the project period, South Coast AMD evaluated commercially available "low-cost" air quality sensors according to field and laboratory evaluation protocols developed by the Air Quality Sensor Performance Evaluation Center (AQ-SPEC). The reports from all evaluations are made publicly available on the AQ-SPEC website (http://www.aqmd.gov/aq-spec/evaluations). Several publications discuss the details and results of these evaluations (Papapostolou et al., 2017; Feenstra et al., 2019; Collier-Oxandale et al., 2019). Approximately 15 air quality sensors had been evaluated at the time of sensor selection. Based on the results of these evaluations and other characteristics, South Coast AQMD identified the PurpleAir PA-II and the Aeroqual AQY v0.5 as candidates for field deployment.
Aim 3: Approximately 400 PurpleAir PA-II sensors were distributed to participants, with approximately 66% of those sensors installed. Preliminary analysis was presented in various formats, including PowerPoint presentations and printed infographics. These utilized different types of visualizations, allowing the opportunity to explore how to communicate sensor data effectively. The AirSensor package increased data accessibility and offered more systematic data validation through QC procedures and functions. These tools made possible an in-depth, multi-year analysis of all the data collected by the STAR Grant community networks (Collier-Oxandale et al., 2022a). Key results include that sensors demonstrated the capability to provide useful data (passing QC measures) for at least three years in ambient environments with negligible drift. However, sensors exhibited substantial seasonal performance variability, likely due to changes in particulate matter sources/types. Additionally, the data from sensors deployed at different times appear comparable.
Aim 4: Lessons learned and results from the project were communicated to the public through the workshops, conference presentations, publications, presentations/webinars, and informal meetings with members of the public. These included presentations to academic researchers working with communities to use sensors presentations as well as to other air agencies at meetings such as NESCAUM (Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management). Shortly after the publication of the Sensor Educational Toolkit, South Coast AQMD led a district-wide lunch and learn for South Coast AQMD staff to increase awareness of this new resource. At the Air Sensors International Conference in Pasadena, CA, in May 2022, printed copies of the guidebook were made freely available to attendees, which included researchers, industry, and community members. The lessons learned are also discussed in detail in a publication (Collier-Oxandale et al., 2022b).
Through this project, community participants became more familiar with their local air quality and ways to reduce their exposure. In turn, feedback from these community participants enabled the project team to develop more refined deployment strategies, create data analysis tools, identify intuitive data visualizations, and create a range of supporting resources. These outputs and outcomes benefited and engaged the communities participating in the STAR Grant and will continue to benefit future communities interested in engaging in this type of project.
Collier-Oxandale, A., Papapostolou, V., Feenstra, B., Der Boghossian, B., & Polidori, A. Towards the Development of a Sensor Educational Toolkit to Support Community and Citizen Science. Sensors, 22(7), 2543. 2022b.
Collier-Oxandale, A., Feenstra, B., Papapostolou, V., & Polidori, A. AirSensor v1. 0: Enhancements to the open-source R package to enable deep understanding of the long-term performance and reliability of PurpleAir sensors. Environmental Modelling & Software, 148, 105256. 2022a.
Feenstra, B., Papapostolou, V., Collier-Oxandale, A., Cocker, D., & Polidori, A. The AirSensor Open-source R-package and DataViewer Web Application for Interpreting Community Data Collected by Low-cost Sensor Networks. Environmental Modelling & Software, 134, 104832. 2020
Feenstra, B., Papapostolou, V., Hasheminassab, S., Zhang, H., & Boghossian, B., Cocker, D., Polidori, A., Performance evaluation of twelve low-cost PM2.5 sensors at an ambient air monitoring site. Atmospheric Environment. 216, 116946. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2019.116946. 2019
Collier-Oxandale, A., Feenstra, B., Papapostolou, V., Zhang, H., Kuang, M., Der Boghossian, B., Polidori, A. Field and Laboratory Performance Evaluations of 28 Gas-Phase Air Quality Sensors by the AQ-SPEC Program. Atmospheric Environment. 220, 117092 DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2019.117092. 2019.
Papapostolou V, Zhang H, Feenstra BJ and Polidori A. Development of an environmental chamber for evaluating the performance of low-cost air quality sensors under controlled conditions. Atmospheric Environment, 171: 82-90, 2017.
Journal Articles on this Report : 3 Displayed | Download in RIS Format
|Other project views:||All 30 publications||9 publications in selected types||All 9 journal articles|
||Collier-Oxandale A, Feenstra B, Papapostolou V, Polidori A. AirSensor v1 0: Enhancements to the open-source R package to enable deep understanding of the long-term performance and reliability of PurpleAir sensors. Environmental Modelling & Software 2022;148:105256.||
||Connolly RE, Yu Q, Wang Z, Chen YH, Liu JZ, Collier-Oxandale A, Papapostolou V, Polidori A, Zhu Y. Long-term evaluation of a low-cost air sensor network for monitoring indoor and outdoor air quality at the community scale. Science of The Total Environment 2022;807:150797.||
||Collier-Oxandale A, Papapostolou V, Feenstra B, Der Boghossian B, Polidori A. Towards the Development of a Sensor Educational Toolkit to Support Community and Citizen Science. Sensors 2022;22(7):2543.||
Supplemental Keywords:sensors, air quality, community monitoring, environmental justice
AQ-SPEC, Air Quality Senor Performance Evaulation Center, STAR Grant AQMD, Air Senor AQMD, MazamaScience Exit Github Exit
Progress and Final Reports:Original Abstract
Project Research Results
- 2020 Progress Report
- 2019 Progress Report
- 2018 Progress Report
- 2017 Progress Report
- 2016 Progress Report
- Original Abstract
9 journal articles for this project