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News Releases from Region 04

EPA Awards $353,516 Grant to Shelby County to Fund Community-Scale Air Toxics Monitoring in Memphis, Tenn.

Contact Information: 
Jason McDonald (
(404) 562-9203 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main)

MEMPHIS, TENN. – (SEPTEMBER 28, 2020) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of the Shelby County Health Department Pollution Control Section as part of a total of 11 air toxics monitoring projects to receive funding under the agency’s Community-Scale Air Toxics Ambient Monitoring grants program.

“The Trump administration has prioritized community partnerships to cut harmful air pollution, and today’s announcement helps states, local, and tribal air agencies do just that,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Collecting this information will help our local partners better understand the nature of air hazards and how best to take action against them. These grants are also a part of EPA’s promise to protect human health and the environment of all Americans, no matter their zip code.”

“Today’s award is another great example of the effective partnership between federal, state and local agencies to improve and assist with air quality monitoring projects,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “This award advances the science of air quality monitoring and identifying harmful environmental impacts in a community.”

EPA anticipates that it will award the Shelby County Health Department Pollution Control Section a grant in the amount of $353,516 once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied. The Shelby County Health Department Pollution Control Section will use the grant to evaluate low-cost equipment for measuring and analyzing volatile and semi-volatile organic air toxics compounds in the Memphis area.

“The Shelby County Health Department is happy to receive this grant that will be used to set the stage to further the goals and objectives of the Clean Air Act for future generations here in Shelby County, Tennessee,” said Shelby County Health Director Alisa Haushalter. “We look forward to implementing this grant with our partner, the University of Memphis.”

These grants will help monitor and provide important information to communities on air toxics, including ethylene oxide, chloroprene, benzene, 1,3-butadiene, and toxic metals. The 11 state and local agencies selected to receive grants will conduct projects in these categories:

  1. Characterizing the impacts of air toxics in a community (community-scale monitoring).
  2. Assessing the impacts of air toxics emissions from specific sources (near-source monitoring).
  3. Evaluating new and emerging testing methods for air toxics.

The grants total $5 million. EPA anticipates providing selected agencies funding for their work in fiscal years 2021 and 2022. The selected other grant recipients and anticipated award amounts are:

Region 1

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, $263,502 to characterize air toxics emissions near the Port of Providence and characterize risk to the most highly affected populations, including surrounding environmental justice areas, schools and hospitals.

Region 3

City of Philadelphia Air Management Services, $352,208 to assist in assessing the degree and extent to which air toxics from various sources, including a major oil refinery, impact the immediate community in South Philadelphia.

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, $526,603 to characterize concentrations of air toxics metals and conduct health risk assessments for the Lambert’s Point community in Norfolk and the Southeast community in Newport News.

Region 4

Georgia Department of Natural Resources, $571,670 to evaluate new technology for measuring ethylene oxide and to continue the evaluation of ambient ethylene oxide concentrations in communities in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Conservation, $261,128 for monitoring and characterizing concentrations of ethylene oxide in the North Charleston area, including in environmental justice communities.

Region 5

Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, $500,000 to conduct mobile monitoring to delineate local scale air toxics concentration gradients and assess the contributions of certain industrial sources to concentrations of air toxics in the outdoor air in southeast Michigan.

Region 8

Utah Division of Air Quality, $328,459 to conduct outdoor air quality monitoring and a health risk assessment of ethylene oxide emissions from major commercial sterilizers in Utah.

Region 9

Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, $435,450 for quantifying benzene and mobile source air toxics in environmental justice communities.

South Coast Air Pollution Control District, $749,624 for design and development of a mobile platform for higher frequency air toxics measurements, including evaluating the performance of a new continuous ethylene oxide monitor.

Region 10

Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, $657,840, for an assessment to identify trends in air toxics for the Puget Sound region which includes the area of Seattle and Tacoma in Washington state by monitoring VOCs, including ethylene oxide and aldehydes.


As EPA pursues its mission to protect human health and the environment, the agency periodically awards these grants to help state, local and tribal air agencies conduct air quality monitoring projects to address localized air toxics issues. Air toxics, also known as hazardous air pollutants, are linked to cancer or other serious health effects. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA currently regulates 187 listed air toxic pollutants.   

Funding for the grants comes from State and Tribal Assistance (STAG) funding. Congress appropriates STAG funds for state, local and tribal air agencies to use in implementing and maintaining environmental programs. EPA announced the grants competition February 13, 2020. The agency held two information sessions in February for agencies considering applying for the grants and extended the application deadline to May 1, 2020 because of the impacts of the COVID-19 response.

To learn more about the Community-Scale Air Toxics Ambient Monitoring grants, visit