Health

Mon Valley pollution watches and warnings discussed by county board of health

Allegheny County’s Board of Health has heard more about proposed changes in rules for the “Mon Valley Air Pollution Mitigation Plan.” The changes would include setting up a “watch phase” and a “warning phase” for county public notices about pollution, and issuing information for residents through “Allegheny Alerts.”The board did not discuss U.S. Steel’s decision to cancel its plans for a major investment in its Mon Valley works or talk about the corporation’s swipe at the health department over the permitting process for the now-canceled plans. Instead, at its meeting Wednesday, the board talked about updating the county’s Mon Valley air pollution plans for better notices to the public.”It’s going to include a watch. And this happens when the next day’s air quality is forecasted to exceed the PM (particulate matter) threshold,” Jim Kelly, deputy director of the county health department, told the board.Kelly leads environmental health for the health department. He says, under the proposal, when particulate matter pollution looks like it’s headed too high, the “watch” will put the public and polluters on notice.”The second part is a pollution warning. So, if we exceeded that value and weather conditions are expected to remain such that we continue to exceed that, then we’re going to go into a warning,” Kelly said.Industrial facilities in the Mon Valley, including those of U.S. Steel, would be required to have a plan at the ready when there’s a watch issued.”The facilities basically have to gear up and prepare possibly for a warning. They have to make sure all their equipment is operating with good engineering practice and maintain good working order,” Kelly said.The newest aspect of the proposed “Mon Valley Air Pollution Mitigation Plan” is to use the county’s “Allegheny Alerts” system. It will encourage Mon Valley residents to sign up for emailed notices of watches and warnings, just as county residents been doing for coronavirus updates and election voting information. The board approved putting the proposed changes up for public comment. The board also approved a request for up to $200,000 in Clean Air Funds for the proposed program to notify the public through Allegheny Alerts for the proposed Mon Valley pollution alert notifications.

Allegheny County’s Board of Health has heard more about proposed changes in rules for the “Mon Valley Air Pollution Mitigation Plan.” The changes would include setting up a “watch phase” and a “warning phase” for county public notices about pollution, and issuing information for residents through “Allegheny Alerts.”

The board did not discuss U.S. Steel’s decision to cancel its plans for a major investment in its Mon Valley works or talk about the corporation’s swipe at the health department over the permitting process for the now-canceled plans. Instead, at its meeting Wednesday, the board talked about updating the county’s Mon Valley air pollution plans for better notices to the public.

“It’s going to include a watch. And this happens when the next day’s air quality is forecasted to exceed the PM (particulate matter) threshold,” Jim Kelly, deputy director of the county health department, told the board.

Kelly leads environmental health for the health department. He says, under the proposal, when particulate matter pollution looks like it’s headed too high, the “watch” will put the public and polluters on notice.

“The second part is a pollution warning. So, if we exceeded that value and weather conditions are expected to remain such that we continue to exceed that, then we’re going to go into a warning,” Kelly said.

Industrial facilities in the Mon Valley, including those of U.S. Steel, would be required to have a plan at the ready when there’s a watch issued.

“The facilities basically have to gear up and prepare possibly for a warning. They have to make sure all their equipment is operating with good engineering practice and maintain good working order,” Kelly said.

The newest aspect of the proposed “Mon Valley Air Pollution Mitigation Plan” is to use the county’s “Allegheny Alerts” system. It will encourage Mon Valley residents to sign up for emailed notices of watches and warnings, just as county residents been doing for coronavirus updates and election voting information.

The board approved putting the proposed changes up for public comment. The board also approved a request for up to $200,000 in Clean Air Funds for the proposed program to notify the public through Allegheny Alerts for the proposed Mon Valley pollution alert notifications.

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