• City of Tacoma QA
  • City of Tacoma Data

Air Quality Pilot Program

In July 2019, the City of Tacoma’s Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability (OEPS) began a two-year pilot program with University of Washington Tacoma to install, maintain, and analyze data from PurpleAir air quality sensors installed throughout the city. In 2018, a number of PurpleAir sensors were installed in Tacoma as a result of a previous partnership with Portland State University. The current pilot program aims to ensure all existing sensors are operational, and will also seek to identify locations for new sensors to be installed. Over a two-year period, researchers from UW Tacoma will collect and analyze data from these sensors to gain a better understanding of air quality concerns in our area.


Current Tacoma-Area PurpleAir Sensors





What are PurpleAir sensors?

PurpleAir monitors record real-time air quality data that is shared and mapped on purpleair.com. At about the size of a softball, these sensors are connected to the internet and use laser particle count technology to measure particulate matter (PM) in the air (like dust, smoke and other suspended particles).


Information collected with the air sensors is aligned with the Environmental Protection Agency Air Quality Index, and is represented using color indicators for different pollutant levels. Graphs of averages over time and comparisons between sensors provide baselines to start asking questions about Tacoma's air quality.
The data collected using PurpleAir sensors is intended to be educational and non-regulatory, meaning air quality levels reported cannot be used for permitting, compliance, policy, or interpretation of health effects.


We Are Currently Seeking Community Input to Identify New PurpleAir Sensor Locations

Fill out the form below to:

  • Suggest a new location for a PurpleAir sensor
  • Ask a question about the pilot program
  • Provide comments on air quality concerns in Tacoma
Air Quality Pilot Program

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