Thursday, June 8, 2017

Air Monitoring in Schuylkill County Shows No Dangerous Levels of Dust

Following a 13-month air quality study, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection  has determined that dust levels in an area of the borough of McAdoo, are not a danger to residents and do not exceed state-wide standards for settled particulate matter.

Residents expressed concerns that dust from a nearby mine, coal refuse site, and coal fired power plant could be impacting their homes.

From February 2016 to March 2017, dust fall jars were placed at four separate locations both in and outside the borough. 

The average monthly result for insoluble dust, which is measured as tons per square mile per month (T/Mi2/Month), at each location was:

•         Location one - 6.6 T/Mi2/Month
•         Location two - 8 T/Mi2/Month
•         Location three - 12 T/Mi2/Month
•         Location four - 4 T/Mi2/Month

DEP compared insoluble dust results to the state-wide air quality limit for settled particulate matter, which is 43 (T/Mi2/Month). Typical components of the insoluble dust included organic material, soil dust, quartz sand and coal dust.

“When that concern began, DEP responded with monitoring to confirm that dangerous levels of dust were not present in the air in that part of Schuylkill County,” said Mike Bedrin, Director of DEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilkes-Barre. “The results of this air monitoring will hopefully alleviate the concerns residents have about the quality of air they are breathing.”

The results of the air monitoring also showed that the amount of total insoluble dust recorded during the duration of the 13-month sampling event was below a level that would require dust control beyond the standard best practices, such as the use of water or sweepers. DEP’s regulations require reasonable actions to control dust, and recommends that the industrial locations in that part of McAdoo continue to utilize standard best practices to control dust.

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