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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal, state and local agencies have collected extensive environmental monitoring data from the World Trade Center site and nearby areas in Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey. Since September 11, EPA has taken samples of the air, dust, water, river sediments and drinking water and analyzed them for the presence of pollutants that might pose a health risk to response workers at the World Trade Center site and the public. The samples are evaluated against a variety of benchmarks, standards and guidelines established to protect public health under various conditions. EPA is collecting data from more than 20 fixed air monitors in and around ground zero and additional monitors in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. The Agency is also using portable sampling equipment to collect data from a range of locations.
Air: Fixed Monitors in New York:
Asbestos - EPA analyzed 39 samples taken in and around ground zero from November 9 through November 10. In addition, EPA sampled for asbestos at three recently added lower Manhattan locations from November 5 to November 7, for a total of 48 samples in this period. All samples showed results less than 70 structures per square millimeter, which is the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) standard for allowing children to re-enter school buildings after asbestos removal activities. This brings the total number of air samples collected and analyzed for lower Manhattan to 2,016, with 28 samples above the standard (27 were collected prior to September 30 and one was collected on October 9).
Air: Fixed Monitors outside lower Manhattan:
Asbestos - Additional asbestos monitors have been placed at Public School 154 (33 East 135th St., Bronx), Intermediate School 143 (511 W. 182nd St., Manhattan), P.S. 274 (800 Bushwick Ave, Brooklyn), P.S. 44 (80 Maple Parkway, Staten Island) and P.S. 199 (3290 48th St., Queens). Asbestos samples collected from November 5 to November 7 from these locations showed no exceedances of the AHERA re-entry standard.
Air: Fixed Monitors in New Jersey:
Asbestos - Five air samples were taken in New Jersey on November 8. All samples showed results less than school re-entry standard. This brings the total number of samples collected and analyzed in New Jersey to 186, with zero above the standard.
Staten Island Landfill:
Air (Asbestos) - Fifty-one samples were collected from November 9 through November 11. All of these samples showed results less than the school re-entry standard. During this period, five samples were not analyzed due to filter overloading and one location had sampler pump failures deeming the results invalid.
Air (Particulates) - EPA used portable monitors to collect samples of particulates on November 9, 10 and 12 at the Staten Island Landfill. No levels of significance were reported at five sampling locations.
PM 2.5 - Monitoring for fine particulate matter (particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter) was conducted on November 11 and 12th at Pace University, Borough of Manhattan Community College, and the Coast Guard building in Battery Park. All 24-hour averages were below the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) of 65 ug/m3 for all stations. These results were also less than 40 ug/m3, a level on the EPA Air Quality Index indicating that air quality is unhealthy for sensitive populations (e.g., those with respiratory illnesses).
Particulate Monitoring - EPA used portable monitors to collect samples on November 12 in the following locations: L (north east side of Stuyvesant High School); N (south side of Pier 25); and R (north west side of Stuyvesant High School). All readings were below the OSHA time-weighted permissible exposure limit for particulates.
VOCs - Sampling for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was conducted on November 12 in the direct area of the debris pile at ground zero. To protect workers at the work site, EPA takes grab samples of VOCs where smoke plumes have been sighted. The results are snapshots of the levels at a moment in time. OSHA's protective standards set a permissible exposure limit (PEL) averaged over an 8-hour day. Benzene in samples from the North Tower and South Tower debris piles in the plume exceeded the OSHA PEL of 1 part per million (ppm). However, these benzene levels detected at these locations have greatly reduced from elevated reading measured during the previous week. One of two other samples taken at the Washing Tent was non-detect for benzene. EPA has located a new mobile laboratory next to the personnel Washing Tent, located at Murray and the west side of West St. This new laboratory replaces EPA's TAGA unit, the mobile laboratory previously located in lower Manhattan for sample analysis.
Direct Air Readings - Direct readings taken on November 12 in and around ground zero showed no levels of significance.
Corrections to Previous Daily Summaries:
November 3 - The summary noted that asbestos samples taken from the expanded ambient air monitoring network were collected on October 29. The sampling date was actually October 24.
November 10 - The summary noted that all 19 samples taken from the Staten Island Landfill and analyzed for asbestos were above the AHERA standard. This should read all 18 samples were below the AHERA standard.
November 12 - The summary noted that all 18 samples taken from the Staten Island Landfill and analyzed for asbestos were below the AHERA standard. This should read all 17 samples were below the AHERA standard. One sample was not analyzed due to filter overloading.
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