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DEEP addresses air quality concerns following reports of “sooty” residue

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) addressed concerns on Friday about air quality after social media posts reporting a “sooty” residue was left on cars after it had rained prompted local media coverage.

The concerns stem from the derailment of a train carrying harmful chemicals in Ohio. The Norfolk Southern train derailed on Feb. 3rd and a “controlled release” of the chemicals shot flames 100 feet in the air. Connecticut residents are worried that the environmental consequences of the release of toxic substances have migrated here.

However, DEEP said in a press release that they have been tracking the derailment’s potential impacts on Connecticut’s air quality and, based on an analysis of forward wind trajectories from the site of the derailment, have not seen any evidence that suggests any danger.

“DEEP has a statewide air quality monitoring network in place that constantly monitors the air we breathe and a practice of issuing air quality alerts if we have reason to believe our air quality will be impaired,” the statement said.

Additionally, DEEP said they are aware of the reports of residue on cars, but could not identify a source, such as forest fires, power plant or transportation-related emissions, for the phenomenon. 

“While DEEP forecasted “good” air quality for today, Friday, February 17, 2023, with respect to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), observed readings from air quality monitors from Washington D.C. northeasterly through New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, and westerly to Albany, NY, are showing moderate levels of PM2.5.,” the statement said. “Today’s cold front and rainfall are expected to reduce PM2.5 back to “good” levels by later this afternoon.”

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Tom Hopkins

A national, award-winning journalist from Bristol, Tom has a passion for writing. Prior to joining CII, he worked in print, television, and as a freelance journalist. He has taken deep dives into sexual assault allegations by Connecticut professors, uncovered issues at state-run prisons, and covered evictions in the New Britain Herald. He chose to focus on issues based in Connecticut because this is his home, and this is where he wants his work to make the greatest impact.

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