City Council approves air-quality-monitor pilot program for low-income communities

The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday approved an agreement for a new pilot program that will expand community air quality monitoring.

The pilot program will include the deployment of 100 air quality monitors to residents, schools, community-based organizations and businesses, officials said. Priority locations will be in low-income communities disproportionately affected by air pollution.

“Air quality data from underserved communities is continuously missing, which is why I requested that the City put funds towards filling the data gap” said Councilmember Eric Guerra, who also serves as chair of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District. “Increasing data gathering throughout the city will help us better understand the air quality conditions of under-resourced communities and enable us to go after state and federal resources to address health and environmental inequities.”

The City Council in February had allocated $500,000 to launch the pilot program in partnership with the Sac Metro Air District.

According to the agreement, the air district will deploy portable air quality monitors into the community, monitor and collect data and partner with a community-based organization to provide outreach and education to help communities access and utilize the data.

The pilot program also includes funding for innovative mobile air quality monitoring to measure pollution block-by-block. It will help residents protect themselves from ongoing air pollution challenges, including events caused by wildfires, a major climate risk factor in Sacramento, said Climate Action Lead Jennifer Venema, who heads the City’s newly formed Office of Climate Action and Sustainability.

“The pilot will advance equity and community resilience in Sacramento by prioritizing air quality monitoring in low-income neighborhoods and the areas most affected by air pollution,” Venema said. “Gathering and ensuring data is available to our community is an important first step.”

The City and its partners can use the data collected through this pilot to inform climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, such as by identifying major pollution sources or prioritizing locations for mitigation measures such as green infrastructure and clean air centers, Venema said.

The air-quality-monitor project is part of the City’s 2021 Climate Implementation Work Plan, which identifies the City’s current priorities and plans to address climate change and accelerate City actions to achieve a resilient, carbon zero future.

The project builds on and augments existing community air-quality-monitoring programs, including the AB 617 South Sacramento-Florin community air monitoring effort and the Sacramento Neighborhoods Activating on Air Quality (SNAAQ) in North Sacramento and Oak Park.

The Sac Metro Air District will buy the monitors and work with the community identify locations this winter. The real time, publicly accessible data generated from the air quality monitors will be made available to the public online shortly thereafter. 

The Office of Climate Action & Sustainability in the City Manager’s Office leads the City of Sacramento’s efforts to address climate change. The purpose of this office is to advance and accelerate City actions to achieve a resilient, carbon zero future. Learn more at

Learn more about the Air District’s existing community air monitoring efforts on their website.

The Council on Tuesday also approved recognizing Oct. 6 as California Clean Air Day.