Upper South and Appalachia Citizen Air Monitoring Project

Regardless of where we live or how much money we make, we all deserve to breathe clean air and raise our families in a healthy environment. But air pollution is all too common near coal mines and other fossil fuel infrastructure, often in communities that have been historically marginalized. That’s why we’re partnering with 16 community groups and two universities to deploy about 80 monitoring devices to track air quality in communities throughout Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Appalachian Voices Central Appalachian Field Coordinator Willie Dodson installs a PurpleAir monitor at a home in Floyd County, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Swensen/Earthjustice

The Upper South and Appalachia Citizen Air Monitoring Project (USACAMP) is supported by an ARP Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring Competitive Grant that Appalachian Voices received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2022. The grant is funded by the Inflation Reduction Act and American Rescue Plan.

We began collecting data in November 2023 and will continue data collection over a three year period. We are monitoring particulate matter pollution across the region using low-cost continuous air monitors, focusing on communities that may have increased air pollution from fossil fuel infrastructure, including coal mines and coal processing facilities. In addition, we are monitoring several gaseous pollutants and particulate matter near the Bristol landfill with Healing Our Polluted Environment. We are also monitoring volatile organic compounds near the Radford Army Ammunition Plant near McCoy, Virginia, with Virginia Tech. This page contains reports and raw data from these monitoring efforts.

This effort has grown out of our work to monitor and address the environmental justice impacts of coal mining in Appalachia. Historically, complaints about coarse and fine particulates of coal, dirt and other materials blowing off of surface mines, coal trucks, stockpile areas and other related operations have been common in the Appalachian coalfields. While Appalachian Voices and other organizations have successfully addressed these concerns in a few communities, these complaints more often go unaddressed by regulators, and neither state nor federal agencies are currently gathering and analyzing ambient air quality data within the coalfield communities where we work. USACAMP represents a collaboration of dozens of grassroots partner organizations across five states to collect this data ourselves, and to build grassroots power and develop leaders committed to achieving clean air in their communities.

USACAMP partners include:

  • Appalachian Mountain Flows — Keystone, W.Va.
  • Center for Coalfield Justice — Washington and Greene Counties, Pa.
  • Clearfork Community Institute — Clairfield, Tenn.
  • Coal River Mountain Watch — Raleigh County, W.Va.
  • Friends of Buckingham — Buckingham County, Va.
  • Healing Our Polluted Environment (HOPE for Bristol) — Bristol, Va.
  • Institute, West Dunbar, Pinewood Sub-Area Planning Committee — Institute, W.Va.
  • Kentuckians for the Commonwealth — Clark, Floyd, Harlan, Kenton and Letcher Counties, Ky.
  • Memphis Community Against Pollution — Memphis, Tenn.
  • Mountain Watershed Alliance — Westmoreland County, Pa.
  • Pittsylvania County NAACP — Pittsylvania County, Va.
  • Press Pause Coalition — Buckingham County, Va.
  • Sierra Club Virginia Chapter — Norfolk, Va.
  • Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards — Wise and Lee Counties, Va.
  • Statewide Organizing for Community Empowerment — Grundy County, Tenn.
  • University of Virginia at Wise Department of Natural Science — Wise, Va.
  • Virginia Tech/ Virginia Scientist Community Interface — McCoy, Va.
  • Virginia Tech Department Religion and Culture — Elliston, Va.
  • Individual Appalachian Voices members and friends — Kingston, Tenn., Cumberland City, Tenn. and Hurley, Va.

USACAMP Quarterly and Annual Reports

Appalachian Voices will prepare quarterly reports to summarize major data findings. The reports will identify any potential areas of non-attainment with National Ambient Air Quality Standards or other relevant benchmarks. Brief narrative information about select individual project partners’ participation in the USACAMP project may also be included in the reports.

USACAMP PurpleAir Monitor Data

Quarterly particulate matter data for PM 10 and PM 2.5 collected from our PurpleAir monitors is available below. Our data differs from what is available on the PurpleAir website in that it has undergone data completeness checks to make sure that 75% of the daily data is available for any given day. In addition the PM 2.5 has gone through a linear transformation outlined by Barkjohn et al (pdf 1.6MB) to improve its comparability to regulatory monitors.

  1. Q4 2023 PurpleAir data (xls file, 1.9MB)

USACAMP-Bristol Healing Our Polluted Environment — SENSIT and Sorbent Tube Data

Data from the SENSIT RAMP monitors and sorbent tube samples collected near the Bristol landfill in partnership with HOPE for Bristol is available below.


  1. SENSIT RAMP 1144 Q4 2023 (csv file, 13.8MB)
  2. SENSIT RAMP 1145 Q4 2023 (csv file, 18.1MB)

USACAMP-Virginia Tech — SENSIT and Sorbet Tube data

Data from the SENSIT SPOD and sorbent tube samples collected near the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in partnership with Virginia Tech will be available below.

If you have any questions regarding this project please contact Matt Hepler (matt.hepler [at] appvoices.org)

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