UTEP Civil Engineers Receive Grant to Improve Air Quality

Posted: 7/15/11

The Civil Engineering Department at The University of Texas at El Paso has received a $404,000 grant to monitor and reduce pollution in the region.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) gave the grant through the El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the El Paso MPO Rider 8 Ozone Reduction Program at El Paso.

"This project will identify the conditions for high ozone episodes and provide effective measures for air pollution reduction in the region,” said Wen-Whai Li, Ph.D., civil engineering professor and principal investigator. “We look forward to working with TCEQ, the El Paso MPO and local stakeholders to jointly improve El Paso's air quality."

UTEP will work in collaboration with TCEQ and El Paso MPO to identify, inventory and monitor ozone pollution levels in the Paso del Norte region. Data will be used to model and quantify ozone pollution levels. An objective of the project is implementation of appropriate pollution reduction controls.

“Thanks to this grant, we are able to focus on improving the quality of life in our region," Li said. "The direct benefit of this project will be the people of El Paso who will breathe better air.”

A team of six undergraduate students and two graduate students from various disciplines will participate in the research project for 15 months. Other UTEP researchers include Rosa Fitzgerald, Ph.D., and Huiyan Yang, Ph.D., of the Physics Department;. Kelvin Cheu, Ph.D., of the Civil Engineering Department; and Hongling Yang, Ph.D., of the Mathematics Department.

The El Paso Metropolitan Planning Organization/Transportation Policy Board is the regional planning and programming agency responsible for working with residents; neighborhood groups; local, state and federal agencies, along with other transportation providers in El Paso County and southern Doña Ana and Otero counties in New Mexico. The agency is responsible for developing the area's regional transportation plan.

Information: Ingrid Wright, 915-747-5971 or

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