City of Madison receives federal funding to improve local air quality monitoring

The City of Madison announced Wednesday that it was awarded $429,746 to support local efforts...
The City of Madison announced Wednesday that it was awarded $429,746 to support local efforts to monitor air quality and promote air quality monitoring.(WSAW)
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 9:11 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The City of Madison announced Wednesday that it was awarded $429,746 to support local efforts to monitor air quality and promote air quality monitoring partnerships between communities and tribal, state and local governments.

The funding was awarded from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring for Communities grant program.

“The City of Madison is pleased to receive this grant award in support of this partnership to advance local air quality monitoring and education. This is a critical next step in our ability to keep our air clean and eliminate health inequity,” Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said.

The funds will help the City of Madison install a city-wide network of 68 air quality sensors to monitor particulate matter pollution and support greater awareness, education and action to address air quality and health disparities, according to the city.

The city is partnering with The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness, Latino Health Council of Dane County, The Hmong Institute, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Public Health Madison and Dane County.

“This new monitoring network will be a game-changer for air quality assessment in Madison,” Tracey Holloway, professor in UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, said. “Particulate matter is the most health-damaging common air pollutant, associated with decreased life expectancy, respiratory disease and more.”

When inhaled, fine particles are dangerous to our health, as they can travel deep into our lungs and can even enter the bloodstream, affecting the lungs and heart.

The City of Madison said BIPOC and low-income communities experience greater exposure to fine particle pollution, which results in worse outcomes for heart and lung health. The new pollution sensors will help to improve air quality and eliminate these health disparities.

“We are excited to partner with the City of Madison and other community organizations to ensure all Madison residents experience the clean, safe and environmentally just neighborhoods we deserve,” Lisa Peyton-Caire, CEO and President of The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness, said.

Air quality data from the sensors will help local leaders understand the locations, magnitudes and potential sources of air pollution. These data will help to create short- and long-term strategies for air quality improvement, the city said.

“Accurate measurements of air quality at the neighborhood scale, that are accessible to the public in real-time, are essentially unheard of anywhere in the world. This is exactly what the EPA initiative and this project brings to Madison,” UW-Madison atmospheric scientist Dr. Timothy Bertram said.

The City of Madison was one of three Wisconsin awardees and one of 132 projects funded across the nation. The other two Wisconsin awardees were the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. The other two National funding for this project totals $53.4 million.

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