Installation of Air Quality Monitoring Network Begins Across New Bedford

Data Will Guide Clean Energy Transition to Bring Cleaner Air to City

NEW BEDFORD – A new system of air quality monitors is being installed across the City to inform residents and guide decision-makers on public policy and equitable health outcomes.

Air quality sensors have been installed at five locations in New Bedford with 15 more locations going online later this spring. Sensors are now operational at Pier 3, Fort Taber, on East Rodney French Boulevard near Brittany Global Technologies, on Griffin Court, and on Pearl Street. Future locations include near St. Luke’s Hospital, Buttonwood Park, New Bedford High School, Brook Street, Coffin Avenue, Pine Hill Park and others. Locations will be adjusted based on data recording and community input.

The City’s Office of Resilience and Environmental Stewardship is partnering with Groundwork Southcoast on the installation and maintenance of the sensors, which are manufactured by Massachusetts-based technology provider QuantAQ.

Data will be collected on air quality levels across the City to guide policy decisions and drive climate action to bring cleaner air to New Bedford. Data will be collected with solar-powered, IoT-enabled QuantAQ sensors, and will be made available to the public in real time. The City is working with Groundwork Southcoast to develop a user-friendly online dashboard for the data.

The initiative is one of 132 nationwide to be funded through grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2022 American Rescue Plan. New Bedford’s grant award was $391,822.

“New Bedford is committed to improving the quality of life for its residents, starting with the very air they breathe,” Mayor Jon Mitchell said. “The information generated by these sensors will illuminate the steps we need to take.”

“Taking advantage of this emerging initiative will provide the baseline data we’ll use to measure progress as we transition to cleaner energy and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Michele Paul, the City’s Director of Resilience and Environmental Stewardship.

The City is also partnering with Groundwork Southcoast on community outreach. Organization members have been walking around the sensor locations talking to neighbors and soliciting feedback and ideas on air quality. After taking baseline readings over the first few months, the City’s Office of Resilience and Environmental Stewardship will hold a public meeting later this year to gain additional feedback and suggestions.