With the northern portion of Los Angeles County still feeling the effects of the Porter Ranch gas leak and the recent Sand Fire, federal environmental regulators this week announced a $750,000 grant to the South Coast Air Quality Management District to educate local communities on the use and applications of low-cost air monitoring sensors.

The AQMD will collaborate with UCLA on the use, accuracy and application of the sensors, which will be deployed throughout the Southland in communities near specific sources of air pollution, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Through these projects, scientists and communities will join together to develop and test new low-cost, portable, easy-to-use ways to measure air pollution,” said Thomas A. Burke, EPA science adviser and deputy assistant administrator of EPA’s office of research and development. “This research will provide tools communities can use to understand air pollution in their neighborhoods and improve public health.”

The results of the effort will help identify strengths and weaknesses of utilizing low-cost sensors in communicating air quality to communities, and lead to strategies to engage residents in future projects, Burke said.

The project members will develop a toolkit with best practices for data collection and data interpretation from the sensors.