Oregon Tech teacher works to improve air quality in Klamath Falls

Klamath Falls, Ore. – A Oregon Tech professor is focusing her sights on working to clear the air in the Klamath Basin.

Data from an air monitoring station by Peterson Elementary School helps determine if it’s a ‘red, yellow, or green’ wood burning day.

Dr. Addie Clark is working to map areas of highest smoke concentration.  “Is there a difference spatially in the basin – is down in the valleys different than some of the places that are more up on the hill.”

Clark also wants to know the impact of each individual wood stove.  “So that we can then help Public Health understand that they’ve got to change out 250 wood stoves for us to see an appreciable difference, or something like that.”

She also spearheaded an effort to build a solar powered air quality monitoring station on the Oregon Tech campus.  “I really liked the idea of an air monitor that isn’t polluting while it’s collecting the data.”

While public health is the primary reason behind efforts to improve air quality in the Klamath Basin, there’s also a financial element.

If air quality standards are attained, some restrictions could be removed – and that could open the door to more industry coming to the area.

“If we can get the air cleaned up and bring some economic impact to the basin, that never hurts anyone.”  Dr. Clark noted.

Clark says she hopes to have some air quality research completed by the end of the school year.

Klamath County Commissioners gave their approval Tuesday to Public Health Director Jennifer Little to pursue grant funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to improve air quality.

Grants of up to $10,000,000 are available.

 

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