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News Releases from Region 05

EPA Awards Nearly $6 Million to Indiana University to Monitor Airborne Pollution in the Great Lakes

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Rhiannon Dee (

For Immediate Release No. 19-OPA071

Bloomington, Ind. (Sept. 26, 2019) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $5,999,860 to Indiana University (IU) to continue the long-term monitoring of atmospheric deposition, or airborne pollutants, in the Great Lakes. The cooperative agreement will support the Integrated Atmospheric Deposition Network (IADN) pursuant to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Action Plan. The award consists of incremental funding of approximately $1.2 million per year over the next five years.

“EPA is pleased to award this funding to Indiana University to continue monitoring airborne toxics around the Great Lakes,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator/Great Lakes National Program Manager Cathy Stepp. “This important research will help advance our understanding of trends in chemical pollutants while allowing us to see the impacts of our efforts to reduce toxic contamination and protect these binational treasures.”

“IADN is one of the longest and most successful monitoring programs in the world, and we are pleased that the EPA is continuing this grant for another five years,” said IU researcher Marta Venier. “Long-term monitoring networks like IADN are essential in understanding the behavior of pollutants in the atmosphere and making the link between policy and science.”

IADN monitors toxic chemicals at both urban and rural sites across the Great Lakes basin. Sampling stations are located on the Great Lakes in Eagle Harbor and Sleeping Bear Dunes, Mich.; Sturgeon Point, N.Y.; Chicago, Ill.; Cleveland, Ohio; and Point Petre, Ont. to help researchers better understand the lakewide trends of persistent toxic chemicals entering the lakes.

Since the 1990s, over a million samples have been taken of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), flame retardants and other toxic chemicals. These samples help assess trends of toxic chemicals in Great Lakes air, estimate the airborne contribution of toxic chemicals to the lakes, and discover emerging chemicals threatening the Great Lakes.

The expected outcomes from the project include:

  • Improved understanding of the impacts and trends of toxic chemicals in air in the Great Lakes region;
  • Improved understanding of the chemicals of emerging concern in the Great Lakes region; and
  • Better decisions by environmental managers in development and implementation of strategies to reduce the presence of toxic chemicals in Great Lakes air, water, sediment, fish and other wildlife.

EPA announced a Request for Applications (RFA) for continuing operation of IADN in April 2019. Nonfederal governmental entities, including state agencies, interstate agencies, federally recognized Indian tribes and tribal organizations, local governments, institutions of higher learning (i.e., colleges and universities), and non-profit organizations were eligible to apply.

The GLRI was launched to accelerate efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes. Federal agencies have funded more than 4,700 projects totaling over $2.4 billion to address the most important Great Lakes priorities such as agricultural nutrients and stormwater runoff, cleaning up highly-contaminated “Areas of Concern”, combating invasive species, and restoring habitat.

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