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Monitoring Toxic Pollutants

Toxic pollutants are a group of 187 pollutants identified by the federal Clean Air Act that have been associated with a wide variety of adverse health effects, including cancer. Toxic pollutants are emitted from various sources, including major stationary, area, as well as mobile sources. Although the focus on toxics in ambient air is relatively new, there are many local, state and national programs aimed at reducing toxic pollutants in the air we breathe. Learn what you can do to help.

Marcellus Monitoring

Marcellus Shale Long-Term Air Monitoring Project Report

The Department of Environmental Protection undertook a project to examine the impacts from air emissions from unconventional gas production within Washington County. Data was collected over a one-year period in 2012-2013 and results were subjected to a series of analyses conducted by DEP, DOH and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Air quality measurements were collected from 5 Washington County sites, and an additional comparison was performed using data from an air monitoring station in Adams County. Air quality was monitored for ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrogen sulfide and methane. Additionally, the air was tested for over 60 toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Continuous meteorological data was also collected.

The air data was compared to National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), ATSDR public health comparison values, Air Quality Index (AQI) indicators, and background values found in Pennsylvania. The data was also subjected to a screening-level risk quantification for hazardous air pollutants. The report from ATSDR can be found here.

For more information, call DEP's Bureau of Air Quality at 717-787-9702.

On Aug. 1, 2013, DEP released the Technical Support Document that outlines the methodology, study goals and technical information about the study.

Short Term and Investigative Monitoring Studies

Established Monitoring Sites in Pennsylvania