Quantify the emissions and particulate matter concentrations by train type (passenger, freight, coal) for a 4 week period during the Fall of 2014 This information is needed to assess the air quality impacts associated with trains in the Puget Sound region.
Trains are a fuel efficient way to move freight and people. Yet diesel trains leave behind a trail of exhaust that may be hazardous for people living near the tracks. Coal trains may also leave behind a trail of fine coal dust in the air that is hazardous to breathe. In Washington State, there are proposals to substantially increase the number of trains carrying coal through our region. Yet we know almost nothing about the impact these trains will have on air quality along the rail lines. Before these decisions are made, it is essential to gather high quality scientific data on the impacts trains currently have on air quality in the region so that we can accurately forecast the environmental impact the increased train traffic would have on our region.
The funds will be used to purchase equipment, pay students and a technician to collect and analyze the data.
Specifically, we will install an air quality monitor (TSI DustTrak DRX 8533) that can simultaneously measure in four size “bins” (1µm, 2.5 µm, 10 µm and total suspended particulate). The size distribution will help separate out the influence of diesel exhaust from coal dust, which generates particles that have larger diameters. We will install the instrument at a location in Bellingham. We will also install met sensors (T, RH, wind speed and direction) and a web camera to identify the types of trains that are going by. All instruments will be housed in a small waterproof housing.
The funds will be used for equipment (met station, laptop and adapters), a technician and students to setup, collect and analyze the data.