HARRIS COUNTY – Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and the Pollution Control Services (PCS) introduced the county’s new mobile air monitoring unit designed for rapid ambient air monitoring (RAAM).
The RAAM will be a vital stride in ensuring the residents of Harris County that PCS is approaching community air monitoring and emergency response with purpose and innovation. The data will be used to connect the dots on the environmental risks our communities are facing. It’s critical information that officials will use to conduct cases studies in specific neighborhoods to take a deeper look into the toxins and hazards residents are being exposed to. “We are going to make strong efforts to meet these communities where they are in terms of community engagement,” said Dr. Latrice Babin, Harris Pollution Control Services Director.
Air quality monitoring in an area with one of the largest industrial complexes in the world is critical. Two years ago, KPRC 2 Investigates first revealed that Harris County’s air quality monitors were not equipped to handle emergencies. We found that air quality data availability to the public was hit or miss. Since then, the county has been steadily building out a network of air quality monitors, in part, because the state’s network of monitors has a history of being unreliable at times when residents need them most. “We’re working to inform the community about what kind of threats may be around them,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.
The new Rapid Ambient Air Monitoring Unit , or RAAM, unveiled today is the latest tool in Harris County’s arsenal to detect, monitor and report threats to our air quality. “The RAAM is going to be out in every community in Harris county, especially communities of color,” Dr. Babin said. It performs crucial tasks, monitoring everything from weather and soil to air pollution almost in real time. “It has various machines that can process chemicals in different ways, so that depending on what it is that might be polluting our air, our environment, we can identify what it is,” Judge Hidalgo said. So that emergency response teams can act accordingly.
The event took place at the Harris County Precinct 2-East Harris County Activity Center located at 7340 Spencer Highway in Pasadena.