Collecting Air Toxics Data Nationwide

Bustling city street crowded with cars and pedestrians, with visible clouds of steam or air pollution

Project Brief

The Challenge

Air pollution from stationary, mobile, and even some natural sources contains pollutants harmful to human health. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Monitoring Program helps state, local, and tribal agencies understand and appreciate the nature and extent of local toxic air pollution. Collecting reliable, high-quality data is critical to achieving this goal.

ERG's Solution

For more than 30 years, EPA has relied on ERG to collect, measure, and interpret air toxics data for the NMP. We have designed and operated monitoring networks, comprising more than 200 rural and urban sites across the country, to sustain and strengthen the following EPA programs:

  • The Urban Air Toxics Monitoring Program (UATMP), which characterizes the type and magnitude of air toxics pollution.
  • National Air Toxics Trends Stations (NATTS), which obtain long-term ambient air toxics concentration data to support trend analysis.
  • Community-Scale Air Toxics Ambient Monitoring (CSATAM), which supports short-term local-scale investigative projects.
  • Photochemical Assessment Monitoring Stations (PAMS) to evaluate ozone trends.
  • Nonmethane organic compound (NMOC) measurements to better understand ozone formation.

ERG implements and operates all these programs. We arrange site and laboratory logistics, set up site equipment and train operators, develop comprehensive quality assurance project plans and associated standard operating procedures, analyze samples, submit data in EPA’s Air Quality System, and characterize and report data. Also, each year we analyze and interpret these monitoring data to prepare a comprehensive report for EPA that describes, for example, the most apparently significant factors (e.g., emissions sources, natural sources, meteorological influences) affecting air toxics behavior; pollutant-specific detection rates, concentrations ranges, and central tendency statistics; risk-based cancer and non-cancer screening results; and program-level variability analyses. 


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency