Fitzgerald Announces Liberty/Clairton Meets Clean Air Standard for First Time

PITTSBURGH – County Executive Rich Fitzgerald today announced that the Liberty/Clairton area meets the annual air quality standard for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) for the first time and has come into compliance more than three years ahead of the required attainment date of August 2015.

“This is great progress and a significant milestone for Allegheny County’s air quality,” said Fitzgerald. “We must remain vigilant and continue working to improve air quality throughout the county.”

Air quality improved at every monitoring site in 2011, with fine particulate levels well below the annual standard of 15 micrograms per cubic meter – Liberty (14.0), Avalon (13.1), North Braddock (12.3), Harrison (11.6), Lawrenceville (11.1), Clairton (10.7), South Fayette (10.6) and North Park (9.0).

“With the Liberty/Clairton area in compliance, every air monitoring station now meets the annual clean air standard for fine particulates, and air quality in Allegheny County is the best it has been since the industrial revolution began more than 100 years ago,” said Air Quality Program Manager Jim Thompson.

The air quality improvements, especially in the Liberty/Clairton area, are due to recent pollution controls that have decreased emissions from the U.S. Steel Clairton Coke Works and from other sources upwind, particularly out-of-state power plants.

Additional controls at the Clairton Coke Works will further improve air quality over the next three years. These include repairs to existing coke ovens and the construction of ultra-low-emission quench towers.

Work is continuing to bring the Liberty monitoring station into compliance by 2014 with the 24-hour standard, which is 35 micrograms per cubic meter. The 24-hour fine particulate level at the Liberty site was 38 micrograms per cubic meter in 2011. The seven other monitoring stations already meet the 24-hour standard.

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