Community-Based Air Monitoring
Connecticut residents are engaging with local air quality concepts to learn how air quality can affect their personal health. This activity supports and promotes a greater sense of environmental awareness throughout the state. While the DEEP's Air Monitoring Network is designed and operated to represent most of our state’s population, there are sometimes concerns about local, small scale air quality issues. The increased availability of low-cost air sensor technology has enabled communities to plan and develop small sensor monitoring networks allowing for a better understanding of localized health concerns and environmental issues.
Several neighborhoods, municipalities, and regions across Connecticut are involved in citizen science projects to generate local air quality data. These programs utilize a variety of air monitoring approaches and technologies to investigate and understand air quality issues and concerns. Environmental justice and overburdened front-line communities are among those who are most likely to benefit from such community monitoring programs.
Connecticut PurpleAir NetworkDEEP is developing a network of PurpleAir sensors to measure fine particulate matter (PM2.5) across Connecticut. Data from these air sensors can be made public at purpleair.com and readily available on a scale otherwise unfeasible with regulatory monitors.
PurpleAir sensors have been deployed at all 14 of DEEP’s air monitoring stations to run alongside regulatory monitors, assess performance, and saturate the state network. Additional PurpleAir sensors have been loaned to community partners including schools, community groups, and outdoor education facilities, to measure air quality and promote engagement with air quality and health. Click here to learn more about our Air Sensor Loan Program.
Below is a real-time map of all PurpleAirs throughout Connecticut that are collecting outdoor PM2.5 measurements and publicly posting the data.
Community-Based Monitoring Programs in Connecticut
DEEP supports community-based air quality monitoring efforts by advising and assisting on prospective projects. An air quality sensor loan program is currently being developed with the goal of providing select air quality sensors to help communities build their programs. The Air Bureau has assisted with communities on monitoring projects across Connecticut such as those outlined below.
The Dwight Healthy and Just Neighborhood Project
The Greater Dwight Neighborhood in New Haven, CT, deployed several PurpleAir sensors to monitor for fine particulate material from vehicle emissions. The group is partnered with Yale University and received several grants to purchase and deploy more sensors.
Learn more: Dwight Healthy and Just Neighborhood | Yale Urban Design Workshop
The city of Stamford, CT installed PurpleAir sensors throughout the city based on the State Department of Public Health’s map of areas with high asthma rates. Data from the sensors is available online and can be used by citizens to help inform on local air quality. The program was established in cooperation with the Air Bureau and is monitored by the Stamford Department of Health.
Learn more: Air Quality | Stamford, CT (stamfordct.gov)
Enhanced Air Monitoring in Derby/ Ansonia, CT
The CT Department of Public Health received an American Rescue Plan (ARP) grant to establish a network of low-cost air sensors to provide real-time measurements of pollutants in environmental justice communities. The project will provide training modules and an education and outreach campaign for community members to lead long-term air sensor network operation. A goal of the project is to establish a digital dashboard that will provide information about the effects of poor air quality days on health and link to existing programs to support community health. This project is scheduled to begin later in 2023.
Western Connecticut Clean Air Action
Multiple towns in Western Connecticut purchased and deployed air sensors due to concerns over the construction of new power utilities. This project has been concluded.
Content last updated March 23, 2023