TCEQ rolls out new air quality monitoring equipment

CW39

HOUSTON, TX (CW39)- Air quality might not be something that crosses all of our minds each day, but when we deal with fires and natural disasters, a lot of us want to know what is in the air we are breathing in and we want to know quickly!

Most of us remember the ITC fire that happened in Deer Park in March of last year. That was one of those instances where lots of people were really concerned with the air quality.

The new equipment that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality received is designed to monitor pollutants in the air in real time.

“Our newest van is what we call our Rapid Assessment Survey Van. One of the instruments on it actually has software and an app that creates a map that plots the course of the van during the survey along with the concentrations measured and we can take that information and tweet it out to the public in practically real time,” explained Cory Chism, Deputy Director of the monitoring division at TCEQ.

This is a big upgrade from the technology they had. Before this technology, they would look at the weather and the wind to try to decide where to set up the van to get a good reading, but sometimes that would require packing up and moving the van multiple times.

In addition to the vans, TCEQ is also deploying three new stationary monitors along the Houston Ship Channel.

“These will take continuous Volatile Organic Compound measurements where in most of those places right now, we have monitors, but they don’t take measures of those pollutants continuously, they do so once a week. So this is a huge upgrade over what we’ve had. We are really excited to be able to provide that to the citizens of those areas,” said Chism.

They will be set up in Channelview, Pasadena and in the Manchester community. They are in the process of constructing the sites and and all three of them should be up and running by the end of 2020.

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