Updated: Sep 13, 2022
Community groups in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood are in the process of holding public meetings to identify the community’s shared vision and priorities for potential, future redevelopment of Allegheny County’s Clack Campus site.
The GASP office is not located in Lawrenceville but this process caught our eye because the Clack Campus – a 5.2 acre trapezoid of land adjacent to Pittsburgh’s Arsenal Park – houses ACHD’s Air Quality Program offices.
GASP is writing about it now because one aspect of vital importance to air quality that some might not fully appreciate is the extent of air quality monitoring that takes place at that facility.
ACHD’s Lawrenceville air quality monitoring site serves as our region’s EPA-designated National Core multipollutant monitoring station (NCore), National Air Toxics Trends Station (NAATS), and Photochemical Assessment Monitoring Station (PAMS). Explaining the full extent of all the individual constituents monitored is a bit complicated but suffice it to say the Lawrenceville monitoring site produces more air quality data than any other monitoring site in Western Pennsylvania.
But more importantly – and relevant to any redevelopment of the Clack Campus – data from that site goes back decades. In fact, pollutants such as ozone and nitric oxide have been monitored continuously since 1980.
That might not seem important but one of the most critical aspects of air quality monitoring is being able to measure trends over time. The best way to undertake this type of analysis is to eliminate as many variables as possible. In practice, that means keeping the monitoring method and location constant.
Of course, there are a host of other issues that might come up with any potential redevelopment of the Clack Campus. GASP does not mean or plan to ignore those issues, but at this point, they are all hypothetical (as far as we can tell).
There appear to be no clear answers regarding if or when any changes to the site will take place. Still, insofar as there is a legitimate community and public health issue to discuss now, we hope the Lawrenceville community and County decision-makers will consider the potential adverse impact of discontinuing air quality monitoring at the Clack Campus.
We further call on County officials to be open and transparent regarding any plans that have been established for the future of the Clack Campus.