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Community Air Quality

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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.

Program Types

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 year) 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 (leaves DEC website) and by request.

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

Odor Hotline

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.

More about Community Air Quality:

  • Dunn Landfill Air Quality Study - The landfill is a DEC permitted C&D debris landfill located in Rensselaer County. DEC started receiving an increasing number of odor complaints in December 2018 and began air quality monitoring in April 2019.
  • Albany South End Neighborhood Air Quality Initiative - The residents in Albany's South End have expressed concern about air quality in their neighborhood. DEC partnered with the community to better understand the nature of these sources in their neighborhood and to address the community's concerns.
  • Peace Bridge Special Study - DEC will conduct air monitoring at the Peace Bridge to assess local air quality. The monitoring is designed to assess air quality prior to prospective renovations of the Peace Bridge plaza, as well as after renovations.
  • Bethlehem Steel Plant Fire - Air quality samples taken at site of Great Lakes Industrial Development (Lackawanna Fire) site 11/09/16-11/11/16.
  • Tonawanda Community Air Quality Study - a brief overview of the background and findings of the study.
  • Brookhaven Air Quality Improvement Actions - Information on current activities at the Brookhaven Landfill and DEC actions to improve air quality in the surrounding areas.
  • Community Air Screen (CAS) - If you are concerned about what is in the air in your neighborhood, check out the Community Air Screen Program.
  • Contact for this Page
    Division of Air Resources
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-3250
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