At 6:00am there was only a slight odor of sulfur present in the morning air, nothing note worthy and certainly nothing that would warrant filing an AQ complaint. That changed quickly, by the time my wife left for work. She only later told me just how bad here morning commute was. We were once again under a full fledged assault on our air. I believe that this is about the fifth such assault in so many months but this time my environmentally controlled Dylos Particle Counter responded to the accompanying Fine Participate Matter (PM). I had seen the data being reported by the Dylos and surely thought something must not be working correctly. So, I stuck my head outside and sure enough, the odor was strong and pungent. I suspected that nobody should be outside breathing that air. My approximated PM2.5 level peaked at about 76ug/M^3 while during the prior several weeks, values simply stayed well within the range of the values reported by the regional air monitor sites.
I really didn't realize, just how bad the air was until most of the plumage had passed. So, on my way to a previously scheduled appointment, I took a detour through Braddock to see what was going on at Edgar Thomson. It was a cold 17 degrees outside and yet we looked to be in another weather inversion. Winds were mostly out of the south. It looked as though a work crew was in the final phases of loading slag for crushing and removal. Clearly, there had been a lot to tri-axle truck traffic on Braddock Avenue prior.
I was fortunate this time and was able to stay inside for most of the duration of the event, unlike other instances. But what happens is that the PM levels do rise inside our home and for an event like this, the indoor PM level will typically rise to about 50% of the outdoor peak level, depending on the duration of course, but this was a long event. When the bad air does creep inside, it takes the better part of a day for the indoor PM levels to drop down to more reasonable background levels, assuming decent outside air is in ample supply.
These are the regional PM2.5 levels posted to AirNow.gov and the EnviroDylos titled "Home".
Edgar Thomson and Weather Conditions
Edgar Thomson Operations
Edgar Thomson Slag Cleanup
(Log Time) | (Station) | (Record Time) | (Temperature F) | (Speed) | (Direction) | (%RH) | (Dew Point F) | (BP) | (Miles Visability)