EPA, UAlbany launch air monitoring program at Giffen

Grade 3 students at Giffen, and Superintendent Hochreiter, learn about a new air monitoring program from University at Albany researchers.

Albany, the Capital Region and all of New York will benefit from cleaner air thanks to a project that got its launch at Giffen Memorial Elementary School on Monday.

City School District of Albany Superintendent Jospeh Hochreiter was joined by Rep. Paul Tonko, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Director Lisa Garcia and University at Albany researchers to announce the plan.

The EPA awarded $1 million for two community air-quality monitoring programs that will measure and reduce exposure to dangerous air pollutants that affect public health. The sensors will measure pollutants at Giffen and in the South End, at two other district schools yet to be determined, and also in school communities in Schenectady and Troy. The data will be used to calculate contaminants both inside and outside the buildings, and then recommendations will be issued to make the air cleaner and healthier.

"We are excited to be part of this important work that's happening in our community, and, in the South End in particular," said Hochreiter.

"We're also grateful to the EPA, UAlbany and our partners in the city, state and federal governments for their focus on improving air quality for all of us."

After the announcement, which was attended by the Times Union, Spectrum News, and WTEN, grade 3 students at Giffen toured a mobile air-monitoring van and participated in a demonstration of the technology.

In addition to the five locations planned in Albany, Schenectady and Troy, similar projects will get underway at seven other locations in the state, including an additional site in Albany's South End.

The fundng is part of the Biden administration's investment of $53.4 million in 132 air-monitoring projects in 37 states, funded by the American Rescue Plan and Inflation Reduction Act, and aims to enhance air quality in communities that are underserved and overburdened by pollution.