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Peace Bridge Study - Phase I Report

Executive Summary

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) undertook a six month air monitoring campaign beginning in late August 2012. The data collection was the first step in a two part program designed to assess changes in local air quality resulting from the redesign of the Peace Bridge Plaza. Once the Plaza reconstruction is complete, another six months of data collection will be undertaken. A final report will be prepared that provides an analysis of the air quality impact of the new Plaza configuration on the surrounding neighborhood. This report provides a summary of the data collected in phase one of the project. All of the data collected in Phase 1 can be found by clicking the PDF links in the right hand column of this page ("Peace Bridge Study - Phase 1 Report" in both English and Spanish). Additional data will be available on the NYSDEC website after the project is completed as described above.

Two monitoring locations were utilized to assess the impact of the current configuration of the Peace Bridge Plaza on the surrounding neighborhood. One site was situated in the predominant downwind direction from the Plaza on a vacant lot on Busti Avenue at the intersection of Vermont Street. The other site was located in the Southwest corner of Front Park just downwind of I-190 and upwind of the Plaza.

The DEC installed filter based and continuous fine particulate matter (PM-2.5) monitoring devices as well as Black Carbon (BC) monitors at both sites, and meteorological equipment at the Busti Avenue site. The sites were used to collect data from late August 2012 through mid-March 2013. The data collected at the two sites were very similar and during most of the sampling period the PM-2.5 concentrations were slightly higher at the Front Park site while the BC concentrations on average were equal at the two sites. There were a few short periods when concentrations of both PM-2.5 and BC were higher at the Busti Avenue site. The only pollutant measured in this campaign with a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) was PM-2.5 and at no time did measured concentrations at either site exceed the NAAQS. The average PM-2.5 at Front Park was 8.3 µg/m3 and 8.2 µg/m3 at Busti Avenue. The average BC at both Front Park and Busti Avenue was 0.53 µg/m3. The analysis of BC data originating from the direction of the Plaza showed that there was a small increase in the contribution of BC to local PM in the neighborhood downwind of the Plaza in the afternoons when truck activity is highest.

The data collected in phase one of the study indicate that the PM-2.5 collected at the two sites in this study correlate very well with the two monitors in Buffalo and Niagara Falls. This indicates that on average, there is no significant source of PM-2.5 impacting the neighborhood around the Peace Bridge that is not also impacting the sites in Niagara Falls and Buffalo. This result is not surprising due to the heavy influence of mobile sources in the region. Historically, the DEC has used the PM-2.5 monitoring site in Buffalo on Dingens Street to assess the air quality for the region. The average PM-2.5 in Buffalo for the same period as this study was 8.3 µg/m3.