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Austin & Levoit Purifiers Help Young and Seniors Breathe Easier Inside Their Homes and the Clairton Library


Valley Clean Air Now (VCAN) operated it’s first air filter distribution program locally in 2019.  In 2023 VCAN was awarded grant monies to purchase more air filters.  Currently  VCAN’s Air Filter Distribution Committee has distributed over 350 air purifiers as of January 31, 2024.  Communities /that have received the highest number of filters so far are 225 filters in Clairton; 78 in Glassport and 34 between Port Vue, Liberty and Lincoln. 


“Since I got the 2 Levoit filters, I do feel better.  We have more clean air.  I have them in two different spots.  One is in our living room and I feel better when I’m there.  My son likes the other Levoit in his bedroom.” Clairton resident 2-7-24


Jackie Wade and Fred Bickerton talk about her new Levoit Air Filter.


How Can My Family Get an Air Purifier?


If you would like an air filter, call the Valley Clean Air Phone at 412.614.0227 and leave a message with your name, phone number and the town you live in.  Tom Bailey, VCAN Secretary, will call you back and then send your info on to Fred Bickerton. You could also send us an email at info@valleycleanair.com with the same information. Visit our website for more info and events.

“I received two of the air purifiers you supplied through the Valley Clean Air grant.  Since I have been using them in my home, the air seems fresher and clearer.  I appreciate your efforts very much.  I know my neighbors are looking forward to these benefits also.  Thank you!”  Lincoln Borough resident 2-2-24

Air Filter Distribution Events

Fred will contact you when VCAN has filters available for distribution.  He’ll give you the date, time and location of the next distribution.  When you arrive, you will need to fill out a one page application.  You could also obtain an application from the Clairton Library.  If you complete and leave it with Library staff, they will forward the application on to Fred. While you're at the Library, you can see the two Austin air purifiers hard at work.

“Our two Levoit air filters work great.  My basement is the most stuffy area of our house.  We placed one there.  My kids are much better down there.  My son is breathing better now.  Both filters have helped us improve our sleep.”  Liberty Borough resident 2-2-24

Art Thomas, Dave Meckel, Johnie Perryman and Qiyam Ansari are also members of this Committee.   In January, the Committee sponsored two air filter distribution events at the American Legion in Glassport.  The Committee hopes to schedule future distribution events in Port Vue, Liberty and Lincoln. Tom Bailey Secretary. 2-9-24

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According to a press release from PennEnvironment and Clean Air Council:

"The suit, in which the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) intervened as a co-plaintiff, was filed in response to 102 consecutive days of massive, illegal emissions of sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide after a catastrophic fire at the Clairton Coke Works on Christmas Eve in 2018. That blaze, caused by corroded equipment and defective safety systems, knocked out several essential pollution controls at Clairton, which the Irvin and Edgar Thomson steel mills also rely on – yet U.S. Steel continued to run those plants without these legally mandated controls. Violations caused by two subsequent breakdowns at the Clairton Coke Works, in June 2019 and July 2022, were also included in the suit."





Members and Friends of the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh during a Valley Clean Air Walking Tour infront of Clairton Coke Works in April, 2023.



Let us hear from you. Email your reaction to this blog post to info@valleycleanair.com Also let me know if you no longer wish to receive emails from VCAN. Thanks, Tom Bailey VCAN Secretary


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Check out this presentation on the Title V Operating Permit, it goes into what is covered in the most recent permit and how it affects your health.

Here are some talking points on the Mon Valley and US Steels actions for context:


The current permit for the U.S. Steel Clairton Coke Works is out of date, and the current proposed draft is inadequate because it does not go far enough to protect the community or to comply with the EPA’s recent order to ensure that the facility would not violate its emissions limits.


U.S. Steel has abandoned the Mon Valley and invested elsewhere, leaving the proud union steelworkers and residents in the Pittsburgh area adrift, continuing to breathe some of the most polluted air in the country. In December 2023, the company sold to Nippon Steel, beginning the process of turning over operations to a foreign company. Our region deserves assurances that clean air quality will be a concern now and in the future.


In 2022, these residents have experienced air quality being ranked in the top-10 worst airsheds in the U.S. 40% of all days for at least a portion of the day based on EPA’s Air Quality Index hourly values. These areas ranked as the #1 worst airshed for about 10% of these periods. The Clairton Coke Works cannot continue to limp along at the expense of people's health.


You have until January 18th, to comment to ACHD on the permit, you can do so below using the following information.

 

Subject: Title V Operating Permit Amendment #0052-OP22a 

Body of e-mail:

 

Thank you for the opportunity to give feedback on the Title V Operating Permit Amendment #0052-OP22a, I appreciate the effort of the Allegheny County Health Department in enforcing Article 21 and ensuring that residents like me can breathe a little better. Given the lack of transparency around the orders of EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Administrator Regan which stated, “ACHD (Allegheny County Health Department) must amend the permit record to explain how the remaining remedial measure required by the 2019 Order will lead to the source's compliance with all applicable requirements. ACHD has not followed this order. To safeguard community health and ensure transparency on ACHD regulatory effectiveness we are asking for the following items to be amended. 

 

  • We want a 60-minute requirement for CCW to notify ACHD when equipment breaks down.  ACHD should maintain an office open 24 hours/365 days a year that will receive this breakdown notice, and create a “real-time network” to then inform the Borough Secretaries and Police Departments of the Five Boroughs (Clairton, Glassport, Port Vue, Liberty, and Lincoln). 

  • We want fence line monitoring for PM10, PM2.5, and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) to ensure correct pollution levels with that data being shared publicly with the community.  

  • The current draft does not call for continuous emissions monitoring systems for particulate matter (PM) for all boilers other than boiler 1 and boiler 2. This means there is no way to ensure that Coke Works can comply with the hourly particle (PM) emissions limits.  

  • The permit should require continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS) on the coke batteries to monitor for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), such as benzene because emissions can vary for several types of coal and coking procedures in the coking batteries. Without such monitors, Coke Works cannot be ensured that it complies with emissions standards and limits. 

 

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