Public Lab Wiki documentation


This is a revision from May 13, 2021 18:30. View all revisions
2 | 34 | | #26302

On this page

This is the project page for the Val Verde Air Quality Monitoring Program (VVAMP)

Background and motivation for Air Quality Monitoring
Questions - support our work by helping us work through these questions
How we monitor air - read and subscribe to recent updates on this project
Timeline - Creating and developing VVAMP
Data - supporting data we have related to this issue


California´s Chiquita canyon landfill is located adjacent to the Val Verde neighborhood.

Background and motivations

The Chiquita Canyon Landfill has been operating in the community of Val Verde in Los Angeles County, CA since 1972. Throughout the history of the landfill’s operation, there has never been a local ambient air testing program, despite grievances from the community and multiple violations issued by South Coast Air Quality Management.

The community has odor concerns due to health related issues like asthma and the psychological impact of not being comfortable in their houses due to odors. In the community’s fight against the landfill odor, and the premise of the right to know what they are breathing, residents have created VVAMP in order to conduct preliminary air monitoring results, collect, shar, document and report their concerns to every accessible body including to government agencies, the company itself and the public.


1) Regularly collect and share air quality monitoring data to grow the body of evidence on existing air quality and related concerns.
2) Have someone who is local (ideally spanish speaking), trained to do the different types of monitoring necessary.
3) Developed a program that can be passed off about air quality monitoring in Val Verde including:

  • Instructional materials and manual (Bilingual).
  • A protocol. for when to test/ what is concerning about the landfill and it’s proximity to these Val Verde communities
  • Have instruments packed up and clear guidelines on how/best conditions to use them.
  • Organize a lending material Library.

4) Work towards advocacy outcomes on the landfill issue including:

  • Informing the public about the air quality on an ongoing basis and interfacing with local civic and regulatory boards.

People who are involved

Sara Sage, Chris Nidel, Jeremiah Dockray, and many more Val Verde residents who have volunteered their time. VVAMP is partnered with the Val Verde Civic Association (VVCA). You are welcome to participate as a volunteer or to serve as a member of our nonprofit board. Contact us at

How the air monitoring is done

We take readings of the local ambient air with air quality sensors and post data to our website at We test daily and in case of an odor event.

IF YOU SMELL AN ODOR: First: Call the South Coast Air Quality Management District at 1-800-CUT-SMOG.They are the regulatory agency and they verify the air quality. SQAQMD is very responsive to the community and works with the polluter to curb the source of the odor. The call will be anonymous.
Next: Call VVAMP at 661239-9390 to make an odor complaint. Please indicate the cross streets and address of the odor. Our Field techs will visit your location to take independent ambient air quality readings. We do not share your personal information.

WHAT DO WE MEASURE? We measure Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Oxygen (O2), Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S), Methane (CH4), Sulfur dioxide (SO2), Ammonia (NH3), Formaldehyde (CH20), Particulate matter (PM), Humidity and temperature.


  • GX 6000 from RKI custom-made to read VOCs in ppb only.
  • GX 2012 from RKI for CO O2 H2S CH4.
  • Eagle II from RKI for SO2 NH3 H2S.
  • FP 31 from RKI for CH20 (CHOH).
  • The “Bucket” Air Quality Monitor from Public Lab.
  • UT938C from UNI-T for Humidity temp VOC 5.
  • Various stationary weather stations which automatically send data to the Wunderground network.

These devices are really easy to use from personal experience once they are ready to use. What is difficult is to service them: removing the data and calibrating them. We need to buy gas canisters created in the manufacturer’s lab with known quantities of gas to make sure they are reading correctly. We take daily and mark our location using a GPS app.


Interested in following along in the project? Subscribe to the tag below to get updates when the team posts new material.

Subscribe to updates on this project


Frequently Asked Questions area:

Title Author Updated Likes Comments
Logging Complex Odors @sarasage over 2 years ago 5
A quick question on the GX 6000 monitor @Ag8n over 2 years ago 0
Historical Chart Of Odor Complaints for VVAMP @denissebn_06 over 2 years ago 1
Troubleshooting the Bucket Monitor @sarasage over 2 years ago 3
What are air quality indicators you should watch for around a landfill that indicate you should take a grab sample? @stevie over 2 years ago 3
HOW WE RECOLLECT OUR DATA @denissebn_06 over 2 years ago 0
Is there a correlation between humidity and particulates in the air? @sarasage over 2 years ago 3
Choosing Locations and Methodology for Air-Quality Gas Testing @sarasage over 2 years ago 2
Gas-Calibrated Monitor Explainer @sarasage almost 3 years ago 0
Does anyone know why ambient oxygen levels would be higher than the normal 21%? @sarasage almost 3 years ago 4
First hand experience on using Public Lab with Sara Sage @denissebn_06 almost 3 years ago 1
Bucket Monitor Build: VVAMP @sarasage almost 3 years ago 0
Personal Introduction / Post de Presentación @denissebn_06 almost 3 years ago 0
Best Method(s) of Datalogging Location in the Field Without Cell Reception? @sarasage almost 3 years ago 9


Program research:

  • Consulted with experts in the months of January and February
  • Support provided by Public Lab, four fellowship positions awarded Twice-monthly meetings, plus ongoing, daily support via Slack Technical guidance resources.
  • Will host air monitoring data on their site for the community to lessen the risk of hacking.

Ongoing Steps

  • Instructional Manual Development: Create a manual so anybody can do the air monitoring.
  • Reduce language barriers within the community. Eliminate need for a complicated instrument manual for people sampling in the field. The manual will allow a wider pool of volunteers and potentially, paid community members to perform regular sampling.
  • Program Manual: the program manual is the final work product for the Public Lab Fellowship Will allow for the program to continue regardless of board membership or personnel.
  • Ongoing illustration, science and design project to be completed on November 1, 2021. All materials will be in English and Spanish.
  • Graphic design for VVAMP.
  • VVAMP was launched on earth day, postered the neighborhood.

Next Steps

  • Lending library.
  • Hacked Stationary-Monitoring.
  • Continuing Air Quality monitoring. Future monitoring for PM.


Stay tuned for data for this project (for example spreadsheets, graphs, maps)