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Press Release

Chriss Swaney

For immediate release:
March 15, 2005

Carnegie Mellon Engineers Collaborate With County Officials To Monitor Air Toxics

Allen Robinson
PITTSBURGH—Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University are teaming up with the Allegheny County Health Department to investigate air toxics in the Neville Island area. This $1.6 million project is supported by Allegheny County's Clean Air Fund and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Allen Robinson, associate professor of mechanical engineering, said his team will use a mobile laboratory and some of the county's air monitoring stations to measure and record the amount of air toxics swirling around the 1.62-square-mile Neville Island, a narrow stretch of land situated in the Allegheny River between McKees Rocks and Coraopolis.

"We've been anxious for some time to learn more about the air toxics in our skies, and this collaboration with Carnegie Mellon will add to our growing data stockpile," said Darrell Stern, section head of air monitoring for the Allegheny County Health Department.

Stern said the county operates 22 stationary air-monitoring sites, but the sites mainly track EPA criteria pollutants including sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitric oxides and ozone gases as well as particulates.

"The Carnegie Mellon team will partner with the Allegheny County Health Department to track a long list of hazardous air pollutants, including benzene used heavily in motor fuels, that we have not been involved with before," Stern said. And according to the EPA, western Pennsylvania is surrounded by industrial sites that produce more than 2.4 million pounds of pollution each year.

More than 1,200 people call Neville Island home along with more than 140 businesses ranging from restaurants to commercial manufacturers.

"We are also going to be looking at pollutants coming from the Neville Island area, motor vehicles and regions outside of Allegheny County," Robinson said.


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