Hurricane Sandy Response
Hurricane Sandy Response Efforts
Response timeline | January 10, 2013:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at the request of New York City, is using two air curtain incinerators at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, NY to burn vegetative debris, largely from downed trees, gathered in the cleanup from Hurricane Sandy. An air curtain incinerator is a self-contained system that reduces wood debris to ash. It is equipped with air blowers that circulate the air to improve combustion and minimize emissions of fine particles.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has eight fine particle monitors operating around the perimeter of Floyd Bennett Field to monitor for potential impacts of the air curtain devices. An EPA On-Scene Coordinator is on-site while the burning takes place to monitor what is being burned and air quality at the field.
Levels of fine particles are measured by the monitors and averaged over a 24-hour period. Results from the monitors are compared to an established 24-hour health-based standard. That standard is 35 micrograms per cubic meter of air (�g/m3). If the 24-hour standard is exceeded, the EPA will notify the Army Corps and New York City. Monitoring began on December 28.
Air Monitoring for Air Curtain Incinerator
Between December 28, 2012 and January 8, 2013, results from operating monitors for the air curtain device burn at Floyd Bennett Field showed that the 24 hour standard had not been violated. On January 9, six of the EPA’s air monitors measured levels that exceeded the 24 hour standard.
On that day, overall weather conditions in NYC and most of the northeast and New York City resulted in an inversion in the air, which reduced the atmosphere’s ability to mix and dilute pollution.
This inversion resulted in elevated levels of fine particles throughout New York City and broad areas of the Northeast. Other air quality monitors that are a part of New York State’s regular air monitoring network and that are not specifically related to the activities at Floyd Bennett Field also measured elevated levels of fine particles.
The EPA’s Air Quality Index for the New York metropolitan area yesterday was at a level considered “moderate,” which means that people who are unusually sensitive to pollution should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.
The EPA has an established Air Quality Index reports daily air quality across the country. The index indicates how clean or polluted the air in a particular area is and what associated health effects might be a concern. For more information about the Air Quality Index, visit http://airnow.gov/.
On January 9, however, in order to reduce the impacts of the air curtain devices at Floyd Bennett Field on air quality, only one of the two air curtain devices was operated continuously on January 9 and steps were taken during this period to limit the operation of the other device to reduce particle emissions. When the weather conditions improved overnight the levels of fine particles throughout the city fell below the 24 hour standard, including the levels measured at Floyd Bennett Field.
The image below shows the location of the eight monitors, on Floyd Bennet Field, New York City, surrounding the air curtain burn device. Click on air monitor to see data associated with it.
Nov 2012 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Dec 2012 1 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 17 18 27
Jan 2013 2 3 4 7 8 9 10 11 14 15 16 17 18 22 23 24 25 29 30 31
Feb 2013 1 4 5 6 7 8 12 13 14 20 21
March 2013 1 7
April 2013 11
**Data not available from this monitor.