Insufficient Air Quality Monitoring in Allegheny County?

UPDATE 7/3/2014: The County sent its final Air Monitoring Network Plan to the EPA for approval on July 1, 2014. Read our comments and the County’s response, starting on page 88. We are encouraged to see that most or all of our suggestions are being evaluated for potential implementation.

Today, GASP sent comments to the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) regarding their Air Monitoring Network Plan. We have raised several questions about the locations of certain air quality monitors and the types of air pollution monitored, including:

  1. A near-road nitrogen oxides (NOx) monitor is being installed in Wilkinsburg along the Parkway East. The law seems to require another monitor to be installed along with it–one that measures fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The county’s current plan does not include plans for this PM2.5 monitor.

  2. Though the Cheswick power plant is the largest source of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions in the county, there is no SO2 monitor downwind of the facility.

  3. SO2 readings in Glassport were significantly higher than in nearby Liberty, but the county stopped operating the Glassport monitor in 2006.

This air pollution can cause or worsen respiratory and cardiovascular disease and even lead to cancer, stroke, and premature death. NOx is also a precursor of ground-level ozone, which causes lung damage, and acid rain. Our region’s residents deserve to know exactly what is in the air they breathe every day.

Read our full comments and the ACHD plan. The plan will soon be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency and GASP will keep you updated on this important issue.

#PM25 #airpollution #airmonitoring #AlleghenyCountyHealthDepartment #airquality

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