Question: Examples of fenceline community emissions and spill reporting services?

nshapiro is asking a question about general
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by nshapiro | October 02, 2018 13:17 | #17208

I'm looking for examples of websites, hotlines, or text-message platforms that enable fenceline communities to report fugitive emissions or spills. I'm also interested in the ways that the services do and don't work and ideas about how they can be improved upon if they are open source.

I'm aware of a few project but I'm sure there are more! Here's what I'm already aware of:

  • The Louisiana Bucket Brigade's iWitness Pollution map
  • The Fair Tech Collective's Air Watch Bay Area (research note)
  • @gretchengehrke has posted a nice note on how EPA method 9 might be able to be used for community reporting.

Any others?


CMU's breathe cams are a good example, they track fugitive emissions from sources in Pittsburgh. There was a site that used to couple cameras with measurements at local county run air monitoring stations, however that source shut down. These breathe cams could probably be used for reporting, as I think there is a video version of smoke reading covered under Method 9.

There's another CMU initiative called Smell Pittsburgh. This is more for qualitative reporting of different sources around the area, though as an app it seems to have relatively wide use and an active user base.

As for spill reporting, depending on the source it's going to vary, but I know that there are hazardous material spill reporting regs under CERCLA and the CWA that have minimum spill reporting requirements for companies. Not sure about citizen reporting since this is generally required by law on the company's end depending on the magnitude of the spill and what was spilled.

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Thank you so much Karl, this is extremely helpful!

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Nice to know !

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SkyTruth has SkyTruth Alerts as well!

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From @ottinger on the air quality list: "In terms of the ways they do and don't work, what I've seen from airwatchbayarea and the iWitness Map: they work best when there's active organizing to encourage people to make reports, and when the overall reporting strategy is connected to a larger campaign and campaign goals."

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