July 5, 2016 - No Comments!

Tribal Healthy Homes Network Partner Profile – Gary Olson, EPA

 Gary Olson talks about EPA’s new air quality equipment loan program.

gary                                                gary-2

THHN: What do you want to share with tribes that could be of value for their healthy home work?

Gary: We have a new air quality equipment loan program that allows tribes in WA, OR, and ID to investigate air quality concerns in their communities. The portable equipment can measure indoor and outdoor air pollutants including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, PM2.5, VOCs, and humidity. There is no cost to tribes, so it’s a great way for them to try these monitors without using any grant money.

How does the equipment loan program work? 

We try to make the loan process simple and effective. The first step is training – we will go to a reservation and train on equipment capabilities with hands-on monitoring. We help tribes develop sampling plans to ensure their project makes sense for the equipment we have to offer. One thing to note is that our equipment cannot be used for enforcement work – only investigative projects.

What are some examples of projects using your equipment?

Tribes can use our equipment to gather data to better understand complaints about health effects from air issues like odors, and then evaluate when to take action. During wildfire season, for example, our equipment could be used to measure indoor PM and gases in homes or schools during a wildfire episode. Projects that compare “before and after” air samples are another great way to use the equipment. One example would be taking air samples inside a home before and after a wood stove change out. So far we’ve mostly worked with tribal air staff in the loan program but we encourage all tribal departments to take advantage of this program.

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?

I enjoy writing poetry…

It may not be what it seems

As clean and fresh as an innocent’s dreams

The air we breathe could hold something in store

That can only be detected by a monitor

To learn more, contact Gary Olson: olson.gary@epa.gov, 206-553-0977

Published by: Erika Whittaker in THHN Partner Profiles

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