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What to Know About Sampling for the Community Air Screen Program

Participants have responsibilities in the Community Air Screen Program to ensure samples are handled in accordance with scientific quality assurance and quality control procedures. Below is some information about the sampling equipment and procedures to give participants a realistic understanding of the equipment handling requirements and time commitment in order to end up with results that provide a good picture of the air.

What are participants responsible for?

  • Participants are responsible for protecting the sampling canister from damage. Handle it with care.
    • They have a glass lining which can break if knocked or dropped.
    • They weigh about 6 lbs and should be carried upright with 2 hands.
    • They have a thin sampling cane on top that can be damaged if knocked about.
    • Do not leave the canister unattended during sampling. Stay with it.
  • There is specific information that must be recorded during sampling.

What is the time commitment?

  • Learning how to use the canister and how to take a good sample requires about 1 hour.
    • Learn how to use the canister either through video instruction or by a DEC staff person. A training video link will be available soon.
  • The actual sampling takes 1 hour.
    • Someone should stay with each canister while the sample is being collected.
    • If 5 simultaneous canister samples are being collected in different areas of a neighborhood, 5 people are needed to collect the sample.
    • If 5 canister samples are being collected over a five-day period of time, it will be necessary for the participant to spend 1 hour with each sample.
  • Some time is involved in receiving and returning the canister back either to the local DEC regional office or the area UPS office.

How does the sampling equipment work?

Read the brochure before sampling.

  • The sampling canister is easy to use.
    • The canister comes with a tripod and is secured on the tripod before sampling.
    • To take a sample, simply open a valve by turning a knob.
    • Record the location, time and the pressure gauge reading.
    • After 1 hour, close the valve.
  • Each sampling canister comes with a sampling cane on top with an opening at the end for collecting the air sample and a flow restrictor and a pressure gauge located at the bottom of it.
    • The pressure gauge measures the pressure inside the canister.
    • The canister has less pressure inside than outside the canister.
    • When the valve is opened, air is drawn in because of the pressure difference.
    • The flow restrictor is calibrated to fill the canister over the 1 hour sampling period.

What to record during sampling?

  • Record temperature and other features such as rain, windy, direction of wind.
  • Record activities observed during sampling such as nearby lawn mowing, construction, idling vehicles, traffic congestion, and painting.

What to consider for sampling?

  • Think about the best time to collect the sample (the weather conditions and wind direction)
  • Is this a routine release or an episodic event?

  • Contact for this Page
  • NYSDEC
    Community Air Screen Program
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-3259
    518-402-8044
    Send us an email
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