Mactec to run EPA's CASTNet

Environmental Protection Agency

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Mactec Engineering and Consulting Inc. agreed yesterday to operate the Environmental Protection Agency's system for monitoring the effectiveness of air pollution control efforts.

The EPA awarded Mactec a one-year contract to run the Clean Air Status and Trends Network (CASTNet). Four option years are included in the contract, which is not to exceed $24.06 million over five years, according to Kemp Howell, project manager for Mactec.

CASTNet collects data from 90 stations nationwide that assess the status and trends in sulfur and nitrogen pollutants. According to Howell, the EPA relies on CASTNet "to demonstrate the effectiveness of the emission reduction program by monitoring trends in air quality and acid deposition."

The CASTNet program involves computer model simulations of atmospheric dry deposition and maintains a database of all measurements and supporting information. Project scientists conduct filter pack sampling of sulfur and nitrogen pollutants, chemical analysis of filters, and measuring of ozone concentrations and meteorological conditions.

CASTNet, which monitors dry acid deposition, is used in coordination with the National Atmospheric Deposition Program, which measures wet acid deposition. This data provides information on many environmental effects, including those caused by regional sources of emissions.

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