Air quality and the world trade center disaster
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Air Quality and The World Trade Center Disaster. Region 2 and The World Trade Center Disaster. What Happened on September 11- Our Experience What Challenges Did We Face What Was the Nature of the Monitoring Response Environmental Impact - What We Have Found

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Air Quality and The World Trade Center Disaster

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Air quality and the world trade center disaster

Air Quality and The World Trade CenterDisaster


Region 2 and the world trade center disaster

Region 2 and The World Trade Center Disaster

  • What Happened on September 11- Our Experience

  • What Challenges Did We Face

  • What Was the Nature of the Monitoring Response

  • Environmental Impact - What We Have Found

  • What We Have Learned About Preparing for Disasters


What happened on september 11 how a disaster starts

What Happened on September 11How a Disaster Starts

Photo by

John Ciorciari

Taken From Region 2

Office Window


What happened on september 11 the aftermath

What Happened on September 11The Aftermath

Photos by Jack Hoyt, an EPA volunteer


What happened on september 11 the aftermath1

What Happened on September 11The Aftermath

Photo by Ronald Voelkel


What happened on september 11 the aftermath2

What Happened on September 11The Aftermath


What challenges did the epa face

What Challenges Did the EPA Face?

  • A disaster so huge it outstripped available Agency resources

  • Immediate impact on a huge urban population

  • Potential exposures to pollutants that are not routinely measured and for which no health standards exist


What challenges did the epa face cont

What Challenges Did the EPA Face? (cont)

  • Determining which pollutants are out there in concentrations that were hazardous

  • Facilities we take for granted like phones, utilities and office spaces, were lost

  • A lot of people are going to want a lot of things from you before you are in any position to deliver them


Epa s air monitoring involvement first steps

EPA’s Air Monitoring InvolvementFirst Steps

  • Response by Emergency Response Teams

    • Starts within hours of collapse

    • Crude sampling equipment for survey purposes

  • Coordinate state, City and federal responses

  • Divide responsibilities regarding Outdoor Air, Indoor Air

  • Plan short and long term monitoring network

  • Plan for data interpretation and distribution


Epa s air monitoring involvement monitoring phases

EPA’s Air Monitoring InvolvementMONITORING PHASES

  • Initial Hazard Assessment

    • aimed at workers at ground zero

    • within hours of collapse

  • Longer Term Assesment

    • week three onward

    • aimed at residents, students and workers in Lower Manhattan


Epa air monitoring involvement monitoring phases cont

EPA Air Monitoring InvolvementMONITORING PHASES (cont.)

  • Risk Evaluation

    • week 8 to 6 months (more or less)

    • aimed at New York City metropolitan area population


Epa air monitoring involvement what major substances are being measured

EPA Air Monitoring InvolvementWHAT MAJOR SUBSTANCES ARE BEING MEASURED?

  • Asbestos (ambient & bulk)

  • PM-10 / PM-2.5

  • Crystalline Silica

  • Metals including lead, mercury and chromium

  • Dioxin and PCBs

  • Volatile Organic Compounds including Benzene

  • Phosgene and Cyanide

  • Hydrogen Sulfide / SO2

  • plus more


Epa air monitoring involvement standards benchmarks

EPA Air Monitoring InvolvementSTANDARDS & BENCHMARKS

  • We used established standards where available and modified guidelines intended for other purposes

    • NAAQS for PM, Pb, CO, SO2

    • AHERA school re-entry standard for asbestos

    • OSWER residential guidelines for dust/bulk material

    • OSHA PELs(Permissible Exposure Limits) for lead, certain VOCs, asbestos

  • Otherwise, we developed risk-based screening levels (e.g., dioxin, PCBs)


Epa air monitoring involvement distributing the data

EPA Air Monitoring InvolvementDistributing the Data

  • Early on the Decision is Made to Load All Data Onto the Web

    • www.epa.gov, September 11Response

  • This Includes Reference Benchmarks for Interpretative Purposes


Pm 10 daily values

PM10 Daily Values


Ps64 pm2 5 averages for august and september 2001 pre and post attack

PS64 PM2.5 Averages for August and September 2001 (pre and post attack)


Park row dioxin trend

Park Row Dioxin Trend


Environmental impact what we have found what did we find

Environmental Impact - What We Have FoundWHAT DID WE FIND?

  • At Ground Zero levels of particles, benzene, asbestos are elevated and are a potential health threat to workers.

  • EPA recommends workers use respirators at all times.


Environmental impact what we have found what did we find cont

Environmental Impact - What We Have FoundWHAT DID WE FIND? (CONT)

Elsewhere - although short-term irritant health effects may persist as long as smoke and dust are present near the site, levels of contaminants in the air and dust in the neighborhoods near the site are not high enough to cause long-term health effects.


What we have learned about crisis management

What We Have Learned About CRISIS MANAGEMENT

  • You need to plan in the calm times prior to the disaster

  • Chose an incident response model and stick to it

    • a centralized response with clear lines of responsibility is critical

    • work needs to be divided

    • The incident response plan supersedes existing organizational lines


What we have learned about crisis management1

What We Have Learned About CRISIS MANAGEMENT

  • Data systems are very important and often overlooked

  • In the public’s eye it’s all about Risk Communication


What we have learned about crisis response

What We Have Learned AboutCRISIS RESPONSE

  • Ensure that field and office staff are getting sufficient direction, support and resources to do their job

  • KeepmeetingsSHORT!

  • Responsibilities get blurred

    • people need to be able to work outside of their normal areas of responsibilities


What we have learned about planning air monitoring

What We Have Learned AboutPLANNING AIR MONITORING

  • Inventory monitoring resources and develop plans to tap them

    • Ensure different Agency elements understand each other capabilities

    • Know the capabilities of other state, federal and city agencies and plan with them

  • Establish benchmarks ahead of time

  • Know background concentrations


What we have learned about risk communication

What We Have Learned AboutRISK COMMUNICATION

  • Knowing the answers makes risk communication easier

  • Data management and interpretation problems can undermine Agency credibility

    • You need to get the data out there QUICKLY

    • don’t OVERSTATE what you know

    • ESTABLISH teams to manage, interpret and post data


What we have learned about public outreach

What We Have Learned AboutPUBLIC OUTREACH

  • The public will be skeptical of what you say

  • Don’t expect to be thanked

  • Be prepared with as much information as possible

New York Daily News

Wednesday, November 21, 2001


Summarizing what we learned preparing for disasters

Summarizing What We Learned PREPARING FOR DISASTERS

  • Plan Now

  • Inventory Resources - people and monitoring equipment

    • your organization and others

  • Have a data processing plan

  • Know your Background levels and Benchmarks


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