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Students Tour DEQ's Mobile Air Monitoring Lab

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Students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette received a first-hand look at the state’s newest way to monitor air this week when DEQ’s new Mobile Air Monitoring Lab (MAML) made a stop at Hamilton Hall.

The $400,000 Winnebago is equipped with air-monitors that provide instant data wherever it is located. It was paid with state and federal funds.

“ This is a perfect marriage of government and science working together,” said Bradd Clark, UL Lafayette’s Dean of Sciences. “This equipment was developed by scientists across the country working on environmental issues and that’s what we train our students to do.”

Equipment on board including a gas chromatograph is capable of sampling hundreds of organic compounds. The mobile lab can also monitor for air pollutants, ozone, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides among other compounds and hazards. It also has a special mercury analyzer capable of detecting mercury in air at very low levels.

“ The department will be able to respond to emergency situations and have instantaneous air-sampling results at the scene of an accident,” said DEQ Administrator Mike Algero. “We will also be able to use the MAML for special projects.”

He noted that Acadiana’s air quality meets state and federal standards. “In fact, Lafayette was recognized by the American Lung Association as one of the cleanest cities for short-term particulate levels,” Algero said. “However, if there was a situation that warranted an investigation of any pollutant, we could drive the mobile lab to the location and take air samples and address public concern.”

Throughout October, DEQ will tour the MAML across the state. It is expected to be in full operation shortly thereafter.

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