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Ammonia Sampling Research

Posted by Quinn Connolly on June 21, 2022

On Oct 20, 2021 Christopher Tessum reached out to Morgan White to discuss two projects he and a collaborator were working on.

The follow is a segment of that email:

A collaborator and I are thinking about submitting two proposals to the ISEE campus as a living laboratory program, and when I discussed them with Jeremy Guest he mentioned that it could be good to reach out to you first to see if one or both of them would be something that F&S would be okay with being implemented.


The first project is to develop a new method to estimate traffic related air pollution exposure using deep learning based on traffic camera footage. We would plan to collect video footage and air pollution data with equipment in a compact vehicle parked along the busier roads around campus. There would be someone in the vehicle monitoring the equipment at all times.


The other project would involve using passive samplers to collect ammonia air pollution measurements. These passive samplers have no sound, no light, no smell (please see the attached picture), and need to be placed on things like utility poles, fences, signs, trees, etc. We already have permission to place them at the research farm and animal science facility, and would like to find about 10-15 locations throughout the rest of campus.


If you would be willing to share your thoughts about whether there would be any issues from the perspective of F&S for either of these projects, we would greatly appreciate it. If you would like to meet to discuss further that would be great too. Thank you for your consideration!


Morgan replied to Christopher, providing a few suggestions of people to inform of their research plans. 

On March 14, 2022  Mei Tessum sent Morgan White and update on their projects. Mei explained that the researchers did not receive funding from ISEE but obtained other funds to proceed with their research. The researchers attached an ammonia sample to a light pole outside of the CEE building. She also stated that more samplers would need to be put around campus and asked Morgan for further advice. Mei attached a photo of this sampler which is attached to this thread.

Morgan replied to Mei stating that they would need to contact the Architectural Review Committees (ARC) for permission to make temporary or permanent installations.

On June 21, 2022 Bradley Klein responded to Mei Tessum, stating that the ARC had reviewed their request and had the following comments and questions:

We want to approve specific locations. 

It is not acceptable on the Main Quad. 

How long will these be installed? 

Remove when complete. 

Mount higher up to avoid tampering.

Mei replied to Bradley and the ARC's questions with the following:

  1. We would like to put those samplers at following locations: outside of the CEE building, ABE building, Illinois water survey building, Oak Street Library building, National Petascale Computing Facility building, Printing Services South Building, Spurlock Museum building, and UIUC Surplus building.
  1. We will NOT set any samplers on Main Quad.
  1. Samplers will be set up for a year, so by the end of June 2023 all the samplers will be completely removed. 
  1. Because we are measuring the air pollutant at the breathing zone level, we will have to set the samplers about 5.5-6ft above ground. We will put our contact information on each sampler shalter. 

All the samplers have no noise, no odor, no light, and will be maintained biweekly.