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Allegheny County Health Dept. Announces Approval of Re-Submitted Mon Valley Air Pollution Episiode Plans

The Allegheny County Health Department has reviewed and approved six amended air emissions mitigation plans for those sources which were initially rejected, according to a press release issued Friday afternoon.

The plans from pollution sources are required under the Mon Valley Air Pollution Episode Rule and outline what steps the source will take to reduce its emissions during any episode.

Here’s what the release said: 

“This is another important step to protect the health and wellbeing of all people in the Mon Valley,” Health Department Director Dr. Debra Bogen said. “This innovative enforcement tool will require sources of pollution to take measurable steps to reduce emissions on days when such actions are most needed. I again applaud our Air Quality Program for their ongoing work in shepherding this project and bringing real results for residents who have long suffered from poor air quality.”

Letters of approval and all submitted plans can be found here.

The Mon Valley Episode Rule, an addition to Article XXI – Air Pollution Control Regulations, was signed into law in September 2021 by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald to develop and implement a system to respond to weather-related inversions in the Mon Valley, which can result in episodes of high levels of particulate matter pollution (PM2.5). 

Under the rule, Air Quality staff monitors pollution forecasts for conditions that could lead to an episode. When conditions are likely to exceed acceptable levels for the Mon Valley, sources are required to follow approved mitigation plans to reduce their emissions. Under the direction of the Health Department Director, an Air Pollution Watch is issued when weather conditions are forecast to cause a high concentration of particulates in the Mon Valley, and an Air Pollution Warning is issued when the exceedance occurs and is expected to continue for 24 hours. 

The rule applies to sources within or near the following municipalities: Braddock, Braddock Hills, Chalfant, Clairton, Dravosburg, Duquesne, East McKeesport, East Pittsburgh, Elizabeth Borough, Elizabeth Township, Forest Hills, Forward, Glassport, Jefferson Hills, Liberty, Lincoln, McKeesport, Munhall, North Braddock, North Versailles, Port Vue, Rankin, Swissvale, Turtle Creek, Versailles, Wall, West Elizabeth, West Mifflin, White Oak, Wilkins, Wilmerding and Whitaker. 

Mon Valley Episode Rule notifications and alerts will be sent out using Allegheny Alerts. To sign up, you’ll need to set up a free subscription by visiting the Allegheny Alerts page. Users can choose to have notifications sent via email, text, and/or phone call and may also download and receive notifications on the Everbridge app.

GASP put together this Residents’ Guide to Allegheny County’s Mon Valley Episode Rule & the Facilities Subject to It. Check it out here.

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