Allegheny County, PA
Borough of Edgewood
A small community located just east of the Pittsburgh city limits.

Air Quality Event
DEC 08, 2014, MON


Last month I received a Dylos Particle Counter and was in the process of learning how to use it while also discovering its pitfalls.

We had been going through an extended period of 'bad air days'. We seemed to have been living with inversions lasting for days where PM and ultra fine water droplets were staying suspended in the air. These were not just overcast conditions, typical of Pittsburgh. We were experiencing low level haze day after day. Every couple of days, a weather front would move through and temporarily clear out the Mon River Basin only to have it fill back up again over the course of about two days.

Finally on Monday morning we had a bit of a break. The air had dried out and PM levels had fallen. At 2:00pm, I though I'd take advantage of the improved air quality and set out for an afternoon walk through the neighborhood. By the time I had started down Edgewood Avenue, I was assaulted by very sulfurous air. Much stronger and more potent than I could ever recall. About the only thing almost as bad were the trash trains that Norfolk Southern would push westward through the neighborhood in the summer heat during July and August of 2012 and 2013. But this was a very repressive air to be breathing. Rather than to try to endure the potentially toxic air, I shortened my walk and headed straight home.

Over the years, we've always noticed a little sulfur odor in the air, usually in the mornings, and felt that that was a pretty small price to pay in exchange for keeping industry vibrant here in Allegheny County. But over the last year the sulfurous plumage has greatly increased in frequency and intensity. One can't help but to take notice.

Only as of this writing, did I think to review the Breathe Cam Video Footage that is easily accessible. I've provided a link below. Yes, by replaying the event, you can clearly see plumage being released from Edgar Thomson and heading north towards the Borough of Edgewood and the surrounding communities.

The Breathe Project's Breathe Cam Footage
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