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Drs. Nazari, Karimi, Zech, and McCormick.

Urban Planning

The project, awarded by by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and led by Dr. Rouzbeh Nazari, aims to develop an early landfill fire identification system using infrared land surface thermography in rural areas.

Dr. Nazari, the director of the Sustainable Smart Cities Research Center at UAB, said, "Proper management of solid waste is crucial for protecting our environment and public health. We are excited to work on this project to develop a reliable and effective system for early identification of landfill fires and to provide technical assistance to communities."

Dr. Nazari added, "The SATLAN system will be a groundbreaking tool for landfill monitoring. It will use thermal infrared observations from Landsat satellites to assess the thermal state of the landfill surface, identifying anomalous thermal patterns and changes in the state of landfills. This information will be used to issue an early warning of potential landfill fire and help minimize contaminant transport through water and air and other associated damages."

Dr. Karimi, Co-PI, Assistant Professor of the School of Public Health at UAB, expressed the importance of this project for rural communities. "Landfill fires and associated environmental pollution can have significant public health implications, especially in rural areas where people are involved in agricultural businesses and rely on personal groundwater wells as a source of drinking water. The early detection and warning of potential landfill fires can help prevent the release of toxic and harmful chemicals into the environment, which is critical for protecting public health."

The UAB team will also provide specialized hands-on technical assistance, on-site training, and education to landfill operators, solid waste commission members, and residents of rural communities. Once developed, this project will enable USDA to offer meaningful Solid Waste Management (SWM) support and technical assistance to communities nationwide. This project is a significant step towards proactive waste management, protecting the environment, and ensuring public health in rural areas.

Dr. Nazari has assembled a team of highly qualified researchers from UAB to work on this project. The team includes Dr. Maryam Karimi, Dr. Wesley Zech, and Dr. Lisa McCormick. "We are thrilled to witness such impactful, extensive, and innovative research projects being carried out here at UAB," commented Dr. Wesley Zech, Interim Chair of the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering.