Environmental Analysis Facility

Environmental Monitoring

Environmental Sensing Network Design: Sampling and analyses methods and instrumentation are selected and located to obtain the most information for the least cost.  Networks are designed to address all manners of environmental issues, including regulatory compliance, quantifying source contributions, and determine adverse environmental effects on air, water, and soil quality.

Aerosol sampling: EAF specializes in characterizing all aspects of small particles suspended in the atmosphere and those that deposit to surfaces.  Measured particulate matter (PM) characteristics include size distributions, morphology, optical properties, and chemical composition.  Specialized instrumentation is used to sample fugitive dust, industrial stacks, engine exhaust, biomass burning, bioaerosols, and workplace PM.  Inexpensive sensors are coupled with wind measurements and remote communications to provide immediate feedback on potential environmental impacts so that remedial actions can be taken.

Dry and Wet Deposition Sampling: Custom collectors are designed to collect PM and precipitation deposited to surfaces to determine fluxes and sources.  Measurements are used to determine sources of stormwater run-off, surface water contamination, causes of damage to cultural artifacts and other surfaces, and nuisance complaints.

Source Characterization: State-of-the-art multipollutant dilution sampling systems collect gas and particle emissions from ducted sources such as tall stacks and roof vents.  Soil sampling systems quantify surface loadings with subsequent particle size characterization through sieving and a custom-resuspension chamber to determine fugitive dust contributions to regulated pollutants such as  PM2.5 and  PM10 (particles with aerodynamic diameters <2.5 and 10  µm).  A modified Portable In-Situ Wind ERosion Lab (PI-SWERL) determines fugitive dust emission threshold friction speed, dust reservoir, emission potential, and dust chemical composition. A customized portable multipollutant system is used for in-plume quantification of emissions from gasoline and diesel engines, industrial stacks, domestic and wildfire biomass burning, cooking, and biological sources.  Measurements are used to determine emission rates, emission factors, source fingerprints, and speciated emission inventories.

Data Management and Validation: Field and laboratory data are integrated, measurement precisions are calculated based on replicate analysis, and field and/or dynamic blanks are subtracted with error propagation. Measurements and their associated uncertainties are calculated.  Data are presented in documented relational data bases with queries tailored to sponsor needs, including customized submission to local, state, and national data archives.  Tabular and graphical summaries are created.  Advanced data mining, artificial intelligence, and data displays are used to turn data into actionable information.

Assessment Documents: EAF scientists have assisted the U.S. EPA, as well as state agencies and those in other countries, to develop PM2.5 and PM10 assessment programs.  These activities include: (1) preparation of chapters for Air Quality Criteria Documents for PM; (2) preparation of guidance documents for PM2.5 and PM10 network design, FRM sampler evaluation, filter acceptance testing and processing, chemical analysis, and QA/QC; (3) development and validation of PM speciation methods and standards; and (4) critical reviews of sampling, chemical speciation, and data analysis comparability.






Judith Chow, Sc.D.
Lab Director


Desert Research Institute
2215 Raggio Parkway
Reno, NV 89512


Atmospheric Sciences