Local Civic Groups to Monitor the Air

Will Participate In State Pgm.

Civic groups in Jackson Heights, South Ozone Park and Astoria were among 23 applicants from across the state that will conduct air sampling to help the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) identify and address air quality concerns.

“DEC selected communities from all regions across the state to conduct air sampling to help us understand air quality concerns at the community level,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a Tuesday, July 3 statement. “These samples will provide DEC with a better picture of the state’s air quality at the neighborhood level and help identify areas that need to be addressed.”

The South Ozone Park-based Locust Grove Civic Association, the United Community Civic Association in Astoria, and the Jackson Heights Beautification Group were selected to participate in the program, along with the New Hamilton Beach Civic Association and the Eastern Queens Alliance, which represents Rosedale and Springfield Gardens.

In selecting applicants for the Community Air Screen Program, a committee evaluated the applications and considered the description of their community’s air quality concerns, details of the sampling plan, whether the location was in or near an environmental justice area and whether it was around sensitive outdoor areas like schools, day care facilities and public areas where people play.

The participants will use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)- approved sampling equipment to collect air samples for an hour.

This type of sampling provides a snapshot of the types of air toxics found in a community. A total of 60 samples will be collected through this program for a period of one year, starting in mid-July.

If air toxins are detected above levels of concern, the DEC will conduct additional testing. If further sampling confirms air quality concerns, DEC staff will determine possible sources contributing to the pollution levels of concern and look at ways to reduce them. Additionally, a recommendation will be made for further evaluation through the EPA’s Community-Based Air Toxics Program.

Community groups and residents can follow the progress of the air sampling and obtain more information online at www.dec.ny.gov/public/ 81629.html or call the DEC office at 1-518-402-8044.

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