MORPC Awarded $500,000 Grant By U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Expand Local Air Quality Monitoring
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) was awarded a grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) of up to $500,000 over three years to expand the program to monitor air quality, with a focus on underserved communities and areas burdened by pollution within Franklin County.
The project, to implement particle pollution (PM2.5) monitoring, modeling, and community engagement efforts, will focus on underserved communities impacted by emissions from mobile sources including diesel, freight traffic, and stationary sources by placing air quality monitoring and modeling tools at community sites. Air quality data will be collected and analyzed to better understand the distribution and causes of air pollution and create interventions based on disproportionate impacts.
MORPC will serve as the project manager, working with local partner Franklin County Public Health, to implement an air quality monitoring network, share results with the public, and help to inform local strategies to reduce pollution and protect public health as well as strengthen community engagement, and elevate environmental justice concerns.
The US EPA selected 132 projects in 37 states, to award a total of $53.4 million for air monitoring in communities across the country with environmental and health outcome disparities stemming from pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the US EPA, they will start the process to award the funding by the end of 2022, once the grant applicants have met all legal and administrative requirements. The grants are funded by the climate and health law approved in August and the coronavirus relief plan approved by Congress last year.
MORPC operates a regional air quality forecasting and alert program for ground-level ozone and particle pollution (PM2.5) using the national Air Quality Index (AQI) scale. When pollution levels are expected to reach 101 or higher on the AQI, air quality is considered to be Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups and MORPC issues an Air Quality Alert to the public. The public can receive Air Quality Alert notifications by email by signing up at www.morpc.org/airquality.