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Apply for a MassDEP Air Sensor Grant

This competitive grant program provides, at no cost, between five and ten fine particulate (PM2.5) air sensors to each qualifying municipality. MassDEP will give preference to applications from cities and towns with Environmental Justice populations.
MassDEP will accept applications for air sensor grants until October 1, 2021.

Air Sensor Grant Questions?

The Details of Apply for a MassDEP Air Sensor Grant

About this program for Apply for a MassDEP Air Sensor Grant

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is offering this competitive grant opportunity for municipalities across the state to receive, at no cost, between five and ten PurpleAir sensors to measure levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in their communities' outdoor air for at least one year. 

PM2.5 is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets so small that they can be inhaled deep into the lungs and may even enter the bloodstream. Breathing PM2.5 can aggravate asthma, and contribute to other respiratory and cardio-pulmonary illnesses. 

With sensors provided through this grant program, municipalities can:

  • Work with residents, schools, businesses, and community groups to assess PM2.5 levels in the outdoor air;
  • Increase public understanding of local conditions and their effects;
  • Identify areas where pollution levels might be higher and mitigation efforts can be directed to protect public health.

MassDEP has allocated $200,000 for the purchase of PM2.5 sensors and will distribute them to qualifying cities and towns through an authorized state procurement process.

How to apply Apply for a MassDEP Air Sensor Grant

See the details below.

Next steps for Apply for a MassDEP Air Sensor Grant

  1. Review the Program Guidance & Answers to Questions

    The Air Sensor Grant Program is open to all Massachusetts municipalities, although MassDEP is encouraging the placement of outside air sensors in communities with Environmental Justice (EJ) populations by giving preference to these applicants. See the documents below to learn more.

  2. Learn About the Available Sensors

    Image of PurpleAir PA II Sensor
    PurpleAir PA II PM2.5 Sensor

    PurpleAir PA II sensors are air quality instruments that measure real-time PM2.5 concentrations in a variety of outdoor settings.

    Built-in WiFi enables these sensors to transmit air quality data to the PurpleAir Map, where it is stored and can be viewed on any smart device. 

    PurpleAir sensor data also may be viewed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) AirNow Fire & Smoke Map together with data from regulatory PM2.5 monitors operated by MassDEP and other government agencies.

  3. Prepare Supporting Documentation

    Determine how man sensors your municipality wants to apply for (between five and ten) and a geographic area within your community where they will be deployed in outdoor locations.

    Then develop a brief project description, including the above information, and identifying:

    • Who your community will work with (e.g. residents within a specific neighborhood, schools to educate students about air quality, local businesses and groups who wish to host sensors); and
    • Any Environmental Justice (EJ) populations that will be served by some or all of the sensors to be deployed.

    You will be asked to enter your project description or upload it as an attachment during the online application process.

  4. Apply Online

    Your municipality may apply for a minimum of five and a maximum of ten air sensors, which must be installed at outdoor locations within its boundaries.

    We encourage your community to partner with residents, schools, businesses, and local organizations that work on public health and environmental justice issues.

    MassDEP will accept applications for this competitive grant program until October 1, 2021

  5. Await MassDEP Review

    The agency will check your application for eligibility and completeness, and notify your municipality of this review's outcome.

    If your community is selected to receive a MassDEP Air Sensor Grant, the agency will issue you both an Approval Letter and a Contract Document, an example of which is provided below. You will have 30 days to return the executed and signed agreement to MassDEP.

  6. Install Sensors Around Your Community

    Once MassDEP receives your city or town's executed and signed agreement, the agency will arrange for shipment of the awarded sensors.

    Your municipality and/or partner organizations must then work with sensor hosts - which may include residents, schools, business, and community groups - to ensure that the equipment is:

    • Installed in outdoor locations within the city or town's boundaries that have access to both electricity and WiFi;
    • Set to "public mode" so that their data appears on both the PurpleAir Map and EPA AirNow Fire & Smoke Map; and
    • Allowed to operate for at least one year.

    For additional information, see the instructions and video below.

    Your city or town is required to notify MassDEP in writing when all awarded sensors are deployed and relaying data.

Contact for Apply for a MassDEP Air Sensor Grant

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