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DO VOC EMISSIONS FROM WPCPS AFFECT AMBIENT AIR QUALITY?

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Under a New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) research project, ambient air monitoring was conducted at the Wards Island Water Pollution Control Plant WPCP) from April 1996 through April 1997. This monitoring study was conducted to understand the impact of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from the plant, mainly from the plant s fugitive sources, on fenceline ambient air quality.

Ambient air samples were collected at the upwind and downwind fenceline locations determined by the wind direction measured during sampling once every six days. A simple downwind concentration incremental calculation was used for the screening analysis. Statistical probabilities techniques were employed to further evaluate ambient air quality changes for pollutants of concern determined by the screening analysis. Changes in ambient air quality were evaluated by comparing the probabilities of the fenceline upwind and downwind data sets attaining the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation s Ambient Air Guideline Concentrations (Air Guide-1). Ambient air samples were also collected at other four fixed fenceline locations twice per month for ambient air concentrations monitoring.

The data analysis suggested that emissions of chloroform, tetrachloroethylene and carbon tetrachloride from the plant have statistical impacts on fenceline ambient air concentrations. However, the impact of the emissions beyond the fenceline is limited since the downwind pollutant concentrations will likely be diluted to their corresponding upwind concentrations within a shirt distance from the fenceline. Also, the impacts are unlikely to affect whether these pollutants exceed the annual guideline concentrations but rather the degree of exceedence.

The data analysis also suggested that the emissions of these pollutants are not the pollutants of greatest concern in regards to the local ambient air quality. Rather, benzene, which may be emitted from sources other than the Wards Island WPCP and has the lowest AGC attainment probability for the upwind air, should be the pollutant of concern for the local ambient air quality.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-01-01

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