Have you seen that state monitor on 490? We did and we had some questions

April 23, 2019 07:05 PM

NEW YORK (WHEC) -- It's Earth Week in New York state which is why we're asking questions about a monitoring device that tens of thousands of people in Rochester drive by every day. 

It's been there for a few of years. But on Earth Week, we wanted to know what it's doing. 


You can see it when you get on 490 west at the Winton Road entrance. It's sitting on your right. 

It's a white trailer, surrounded by a fence, owned by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It says "Ambient Air Monitoring" on the side. Since so many people drive by it every day, we wanted to know what it's doing. 

News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean: "What is that device sitting along 490?"

Paul D'Amato, Director Region 8 DEC: "That is one of our mobile air monitoring units."

D'Amato is the director of Region 8 of the state DEC. He says the monitoring station has been sitting along 490 since 2014. It's one of two in Rochester. D'Amato says it takes continuous readings of certain pollutants to see if Rochester is "in attainment" of federal air quality guidelines. 

Brean: "Are we in attainment?"

D'Amato: "My understanding is that we are in attainment for virtually all of the polluntants that are looked at."

The latest reports from the monitors are posted on the DEC's website. 

There are two monitors in Rochester and one in Wayne, Seneca and Steuben counties. The monitors read pollutants like sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, lead and the ozone level. 

News10NBC read through the report on Tuesday. We found it's hard for the average person and reporter to tell what the readings mean.

The numbers are technical and the results are accessible but not understandable. 

So we had to ask D'Amato a basic question. 

Brean: "Are we breathing good air here?"

D'Amato: "Yes. There is no question that the quality of air here has only improved over time. No one should be concerned about breathing the air in Rochester and Monroe County."

D'Amato says the station was placed on the side of 490 because the federal Environmental Protection Agency wants to know what traffic is doing to air quality.

News10NBC is working to get a better understanding of what those DEC numbers mean. 

One of the DEC's air monitoring page reports the air quality here is "good," which is the highest level. 


Berkeley Brean

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