Community members and citizens groups often approach DEC when they have air quality concerns. DEC uses existing air quality data, air quality model results and information on local sources to better understand the community's concern. If additional information is needed, DEC generally uses a screening assessment to look at elevated levels of air pollutants. In cases where the screening assessment or community air samples show unusual levels, DEC may conduct an in-depth air quality study as resources allow.
Screening Assessments - Short-term air quality sampling, where results were evaluated to assess whether any measured air concentrations were of immediate public health or suggestive of longer-term concerns.
Special Studies - Longer term (typically under two years) studies where DEC supplies technical and other support to short-term air quality sampling, where staff time and funding permit. Historical information about completed studies are available in the New York State Archives and by request.
- Albany's South End Neighborhood Air Quality Initiative
- Brookhaven Air Quality Improvement Actions
- Dunn Landfill
- Peace Bridge Air Study
- Tonawanda Community Air Quality Study
Citizen Science - A specialized program where citizens participate in the collection of air quality data during periods of concern:
- Community Air Screen (CAS)
- The CAS program helps community groups and interested citizens collect air samples. The results help the community and DEC understand air quality concerns. DEC provides the air sampling equipment and training, and then analyzes the air samples and provides an explanation of the results
Report nuisance odors to 1-800-457-7362, a toll-free 24-hour hotline. DEC will conduct on-the-spot air quality inspections and may use portable air monitoring equipment, if available, to assess the odor issues and help identify the cause in response to complaints as resources allow.
2022-23 Statewide Community Air Monitoring Initiative
DEC is conducting Community Air Monitoring in ten disadvantaged communities with high air pollution burdens across New York. This effort will help DEC target strategies to reduce air pollution in these burdened communities to support implementation of New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
Albany South End Neighborhood Air Quality Initiative
Residents in Albany's South End in Albany County expressed concern about air quality in their neighborhood. The air quality near port communities like Albany's South End is impacted by trucks, trains, marine vessels, cargo handling equipment, oil and gas storage, and industrial facilities handling petroleum products. In 2017, DEC partnered with the community study to better understand the nature of these sources in their neighborhood and to address the community's concerns.
The report, factsheets, and presentation provided to the community on November 6, 2019 are available as downloadable PDFs.
- Albany South End Community Air Quality Study - October 2019
- Summary - provides an overview of the results
- Benzene Results
- Traffic-Related Air Pollution (TRAP) Results
- South Pearl Street and Southern Boulevard
- High-Emitting Vehicles (HEVs)
- Community Presentation
The Study formally ended in the fall of 2018.
Brookhaven Air Quality Improvement Actions
The Brookhaven Landfill is a DEC permitted facility located in the hamlet of Yaphank, town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County. The landfill began operating in 1974 and initially accepted household waste, or Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). In January 2015, DEC started receiving an increasing number of odor complaints about the landfill. Residents of neighboring communities reported rotten egg, sulfur, and sewage-type odors.
DEC published a factsheet series to share information with the community regarding actions taken by DEC and the town of Brookhaven to improve air quality in the areas surrounding the Brookhaven Landfill.
- March 2021 Brookhaven Landfill Community Update (PDF)
- October 2019 Availability Session Posters (PDF)
- February 2019 Brookhaven Landfill Fact Sheet (PDF)
- November 2018 Brookhaven Landfill Fact Sheet (PDF)
- July 2018 Brookhaven Landfill Fact Sheet (PDF)
- April 2018 Brookhaven Landfill Fact Sheet (PDF)
- August 2017 Brookhaven Landfill Fact Sheet (PDF)
2018 Report for the Brookhaven Village Association Community Air Screen Results
Four air samples were collected in the Brookhaven community, around the Brookhaven Landfill. Twenty-six toxic air pollutants were detected and all were below DEC's short-term health-based air concentration values. Therefore, the results were not considered a potential health threat or an immediate health concern. Download the complete report (PDF).
2013-14 Report for the Brookhaven Village Association and South Yaphank Civic Association Community Air Screen Results
During this air screening, four air samples were collected in the Brookhaven community for 1-hour with a 6-liter sampling canister and analyzed using a laboratory method which evaluates the presence of 43 toxic air pollutants. This limited short-term screening assessment did not identify concentrations of toxic air pollutants that would be considered a public health concern. Download the complete report (PDF).
- November 21, 2016 Letter to Ms. Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment (PDF)
- August 10, 2017 Letter to Dr. Joseph Giani, Superintendent of Schools (PDF)
Peace Bridge Special Study
In 2014, DEC and local community groups began a special study to determine whether the levels of air pollutants from motor vehicles were a public health concern in the residential neighborhood near the Peace Bridge in Buffalo, Erie County. Air monitoring was conducted in two phases for over a year to collect data to understand changes in pollutant concentrations during traffic congestion and from season-to-season.
When the Study was complete, a final report was released in September 2016. DEC also held three meetings at the Region 9 office prior to the completion of the study. The final report, a report summary, a presentation that provides an overview of the report, and other materials are available as downloadable PDFs.
- Peace Bridge study - Final Report September 2016
- Peace Bridge study - Final Report Presentation September 2016
- Peace Bridge study - 3rd Data Review Meeting September 2015
- Peace Bridge study - 2nd Data Review Meeting May 2015
- Peace Bridge study - 1st Data Review Meeting January 2015
- EPA Response to Letter October 2014
- NYSDEC Letter to EPA July 2014
- Peace Bridge study - Phase 1 Report (English) September 2013
- Peace Bridge study - Phase 1 Report (Spanish) September 2013
Tonawanda Community Air Quality Study
From July 2007 through June 2008, DEC initiated a year-long Tonawanda Community Air Quality Study. The Study measured the concentrations of air pollutants within the community and evaluated the potential risks to public health from exposures to those pollutant concentrations. The Study community was an urban area and home to some of the largest industrial facilities in New York State. It was documented that high levels of benzene were released from TCC's operation, so the facility was ordered to make repairs and operational modifications to address the releases of this pollutant.
On October 23, 2018, DEC completed the safe shutdown of operations at the Tonawanda Coke Corporation (TCC) facility in Erie County. The facility's extensive system of gas lines was completely purged and all coke ovens are empty. DEC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were on-site to assess environmental conditions and investigate contamination at the site.
Historical presentations and information
Additional information available as downloadable PDFs.
- Benzene Monitoring Data Update - December 2018
- Fact Sheet - December 2016
- Status Report Presentation - December 2016
- Study Update: An Evaluation of 8 Years of Post-Study Air Toxics Results
- December 2016 Data Analyses Update Graphs
- Update - January 2013
- Data Analyses Update Graphs - January 2013
- Fact Sheet - October 2011
- Public Presentation - October 2011
- Final Report - October 2009
- Fact Sheet - October 2009
- Public Presentation - June 2009
- EPA Air Toxics Webinar - June 2009
- Facilities and Air Monitoring Location Map
- Public Presentation - March 2008
- Public Presentation - November 2008