Case study
Ensuring significant data collection to monitor air quality

Since 1987, Wood has played a crucial and ongoing role in monitoring air quality through its support of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNET)

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Project details
Project name:
Data collection and monitoring air quality
Client name:
US Environmental Protection Agency
Location:
US and Canada
Michael D. Sufnarski
US Government Sector Lead
Julian Henley
UK Government Sector Lead
Craig Wells
Canadian Government Sector Lead
Key stats
Locations:
90+ sites in the United States and Canada
Since 1987:
Monitored air quality through its support of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNET)
Equipment:
n ISO/IEC 17025-accredited analytical chemistry laboratory and field operation department

Since 1987, Wood has played a crucial and ongoing role in monitoring air quality through its support of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNET).

The project, which includes more than 90 monitoring stations across the US and Canada, assesses the effectiveness of emission reduction efforts by reporting trends in pollutant concentrations and acidic deposition. Most sites have a 10-metre tower, plus a building or enclosure with monitoring equipment. About a dozen have a smaller footprint with just an equipment box and a tower. Wood provides all ancillary support services, such as electricity, telephone, internet, and land leases for each of the sites.

CASTNET is managed and operated by the EPA in cooperation with dozens of federal, tribal, state, and local partners, including academic professors, graduate students, retired teachers, and farmers, who help maintain the stations for 24/7 data collection.

Trends in Sulfur Dioxide Concentrations in the Eastern US 1990 through 2019

Trends in Sulfur Dioxide Concentrations in the Eastern US 1990 through 2019

Fourth Highest Daily Maximum 8-hour Ozone Concentrations for 2019

Fourth Highest Daily Maximum 8-hour Ozone Concentrations for 2019

High-quantity and high-quality

All of the data gathered at the monitoring stations supports the assessment of primary and secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and fine particulate matter. Measurements are also used to assess air pollution impacts to sensitive ecosystems, and applications related to environmental assessments and permitting.

Over the life of this project, hourly data collection has given way to minute and even sub-minute data. Since Wood is responsible for all monitoring equipment, information collection and tracking, plus analytical services, our critical deliverable for the EPA is this consistent, high-quantity, high-quality data.

Dependable results

The hallmarks of our programme include strong QA/QC, an ISO/IEC 17025-accredited analytical chemistry laboratory, a field operation department that performs regular maintenance and deploys new technologies, and a data management group that delivers quality information.

Contractor Performance Assessment Report ratings by EPA during the current and previous contract are “Exceptional” across five out of six categories, with the sixth being a “very good” rating, and EPA frequently cites specific achievements. In 2020, these successes included Wood’s management of more than 90 remote monitoring stations, providing high-quality data while managing 10 task orders within budget for the contract year, and the following example activities:

  • Maintaining ISO/IEC 17025-accredited analytical chemistry laboratory and field operation department
  • Enhancing ozone monitoring at all CASTNET sites to meet additional regulatory requirements and produce concentrations that are now being used by states to assess ozone design values in rural areas
  • Developing an ozone dryer system to improve completeness, precision, and accuracy of ozone measurements that is now being used by states
  • Providing very responsive service to both the programme technical office and  the contract office
  • Developing and implementing a well-maintained tracking database for all property
  • Reducing overall costs by allowing the program technical office the option to install additional monitoring capability

Our effective and longstanding support of this critical EPA program is just one example of Wood’s decades-long history of partnering with government clients of all sizes to extend and enhance the useful life of their assets, while increasing performance, avoiding downtime and promoting cost savings.

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