• 48°

Center for Environment Partners with Davidson College on Air Monitoring Program

06/05/11 by Kathy Chaffin

The Center for the Environment at Catawba College is partnering with Davidson College on a summer air monitoring program to measure ozone and nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels in seven Piedmont counties.
Dr. Cindy Hauser, associate professor of chemistry at Davidson, will analyze the data collected for cross comparison. Two of her students will be working with June McDowell, an air quality intern with the Center for the Environment, to deliver and collect the tubes with filters used for monitoring.
“The volunteers are just literally putting them in,” she said. “Beyond that, we do all the handling so there will be minimal contact.”
Volunteers in residential areas of Rowan, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Iredell, Gaston and Davidson counties in North Carolina and York County in South Carolina have been trained on using the monitors. Hauser said they targeted residential areas for the program so people will know what the air is like “outside their front doors.”
Shelia Armstrong, outreach coordinator for the Center’s Campaign for Clean Air, said the results of the monitoring program will provide a broader perspective on regional air quality and assist staff in educating the public about it.
Rowan and Mecklenburg are the only counties in the program currently monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency. The American Lung Association’s 2011 State of the Air Report ranked Rowan as the 17th worst county in the nation for ozone pollution of counties with monitor collecting data. Mecklenburg tied with two other counties for the 21st place ranking.
The Charlotte-Gastonia-Salisbury region ranked 10th in the nation for having the worst ozone levels and was the only region in the East to make the top 10.
Hauser said residents of surrounding counties may think their air quality is fine because they don’t know how they rank. “But the fact of the matter is they don’t know,” she said. “To assume they’re fine is probably not safe considering the numbers in the other areas.”
The Center’s Campaign staff met recently with Hauser and one of her students to discuss collector placement, volunteer recruitment, ozone and NOx analysis procedures and placement. A training class for Campaign staff was also held at Davidson.
Armstrong said the start of the summer monitoring program was targeted to kick off the ozone season, which has already resulted in warnings for high-risk populations.
The first monitors were placed at volunteers’ residences on Tuesday, May 31, and will be replaced the following Tuesday of each week through the end of July. “That should tell us what we want to know,” she said. “That’s the height of ozone season so we should have a fairly good idea of how the counties compare with each other.”
Results of the study will be released to the public to increase awareness of air quality in the region.
 “I think it’s really important for people to understand the air quality where they live,” Hauser said. “The more informed people are, the better they can take precautionary methods if necessary. And if their air quality is really great, it’s good to know that, too.”
***
The Center for the Environment at Catawba College was founded in 1996 to provide education and outreach centered on prevalent environmental challenges and to foster community-oriented sustainable solutions that can serve as a model for programs throughout the country. For more information, visit www.centerfortheenvironment.org or www.campaignforcleanair.org.

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest

Local

Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction

Business

Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured

Education

Profoundly gifted: Salisbury boy finishing high school, associates degree at 12

Local

Cheerwine Festival will stick to Main Street, stay away from new park in September

Lifestyle

Celebrating Rowan County’s early cabinetmakers

Education

Service Above Self announces youth challenge winners

Business

Economic Development Commission creates search tool for people seeking Rowan County jobs

Columns

Amy-Lynn Albertson: Arts and Ag Farm Tour set for June 5

High School

High school baseball: Mustangs top Falcons on strength of hurlers

Business

Biz Roundup: Application process now open for Rowan Chamber’s 29th Leadership Rowan class

Sports

Keith Mitchell leads McIlroy, Woodland by 2 at Quail Hollow

Nation/World

States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes

Nation/World

Major US pipeline halts operations after ransomware attack

News

NC budget dance slowed as GOP leaders differ on bottom line

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting

Coronavirus

People receiving first dose of COVID-19 vaccine grows by less than 1%

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools brings Skills Rowan competition back to its roots

Business

Weak jobs report spurs questions about big fed spending

News

Judge limits footage that family can see of deputy shooting in Elizabeth City

Sports

Woodland, two others share lead; Mickelson plays much worse but will still be around for weekend at Quail Hollow

Business

Former NHL player to open mobster themed bar in Raleigh

Nation/World

California population declines for first time