Northborough and Southborough to get air quality sensors

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A Wachusett Aqueduct bridge crosses through Northborough on a foggy morning. Northborough is one of two area communities now receiving new air quality sensors from the state. (Photo/Tami White)

REGION – Community members in Northborough and Southborough will soon get a real-time, hyper-local look at air quality in their towns thanks to new air sensors bought and distributed by the state.

Both Northborough and Southborough will receive five such sensors. 

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg explained the effort in a press release announcing this award this week.

“By placing these air sensors around communities, we can identify potential areas where mitigation efforts can be directed to help protect public health,” he said. 

These sensors will be able to monitor PM2.5, a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets that become airborne. These particles can be inhaled into the lungs, and they may enter an individual’s bloodstream. They have the potential to lead to adverse health effects. 

“Particulate matter can be a significant airborne pollutant that affects the public health in communities throughout the state,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “By providing air sensors to municipalities to measure their air quality, our Air Sensor Grant Program highlights the Commonwealth’s dedication to working directly with local communities, to effectively assess and improve air quality across the state.”

The PurpleAir sensors are used by a variety of government agencies and entities. These sensors transmit data in real time. Once installed, the data can be viewed online.

That online data currently shows air quality readings from area communities like Worcester, Framingham, Berlin and Sudbury.

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