Introduction Collaboration PresentationsMedia Team Contact
The Paso del Norte (PdN) encompasses an area along U.S./Mexico border that includes El Paso County in Texas, Doña Ana County in New Mexico, and Ciudad Juárez in Chihauhua, Mexico, all of which lie in the northern Chihuahuan Desert. The airshed shared by these three neighboring communities is monitored by different entities, including the City of El Paso, TCEQ, NMED, and the Ciudad Juárez Ecology and Civil Protection Department DGEPC. These agencies manage several air monitoring systems that are located throughout the area. Its geographic characteristics and urban sprawl have defined air quality in this area.
This project aims to improve air quality monitoring in the border region, produce a case study of scientific measurement and analysis of air quality using low-cost air sensors, to foster binational technical exchange between government agencies and research institutions in the PdN. Therefore, this project is designed to collect basin-wide, spatial, and temporal data of the primary pollutant PM2.5 in the PdN using low-cost air sensors. In addition, the project will address the air quality issues in the PdN by providing real-time spatial and temporal concentration patterns of PM to the public; and assessing air quality and emissions associated with transportation by developing an algorithm to predict air pollution near-road receptors using land-use regression technique.
A key goal of the project is to enhance binational collaboration between research institutions in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. The research team meets virtually every two weeks to coordinate joint activities and implement the Quality Assurance Project Plan. The study is a first of its kind measurement of air quality in the international air basin as a whole using innovative new technology.
Instrumentation and Setup
The project installed an air monitoring network in the PdN to measure PM2.5 at 31sites in El Paso and Ciudad Juarezplus duplicates located at 12 sites. In total 48 sensors were evaluated at various quality control levels. Task 1 involved monitoring PM2.5 levels at selected public elementary schools in the PdN. These sites were 17 elementary schools of high and low traffic exposure based on annual average daily traffic (AADT). These elementary schools encompass 12 sites in El Paso and five sites in Ciudad Juarez. Task 2 involves monitoring PM in the industrial sector in Ciudad Juarez. Again, 14 monitoring sites in industrial zones in Ciudad Juarez were chosen including low and high traffic exposure areas. The sampling project took place over two months, from March through April 2021. The sites chosen for Task 1 (elementary schools) and Task 2 (industrial sites) are shown below.
The PurpleAir PA-II is an air quality sensor that measures real-time PM2.5 concentrations. Built-in WiFi enables the air quality measurement device to transmit data to the PurpleAir map, where it is stored and made available to any smart device.
On May 2022, The UTEP team presented the abstract titled "Rapid Assessment of Community Air Quality Using Real-time Mobile Air Monitors" at the 2022 Air Sensors International Conference.
On March, the UACJ team hosted a seminar on low-cost sensors for the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INEEC), Secretary of Urban Development and Ecology of the state of Chihuahua (SEDUE), and the Department of Ecology of the Municipality of Ciudad Juarez. They talked about the challenges of using low-cost sensors to monitor particulate matter.