Rockland County will soon get it’s own electronic air monitoring station. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has reversed a 37-year-old position that Rockland didn’t need its own station because regional data was sufficient. Rockland is the only county in the region without a dedicated air monitoring unit.
The station will be located on county land at the Orchards of Concklin. “No doubt the data from the Orchards of Concklin will show less ozone and fewer particulates that the temporary location near Rockland’s congested highways and mining operations,” says Valley Cottage resident Rick Tannenbaum. A previous temporary station by the Palisades Mall and the NYS Thruway showed high levels of pollution until it was removed about two years ago. Tannenbaum says the Palisades Center location gave accurate readings of ozone and particulate matter in the most congested part of the county.
County officials disagree that the where it’s located is as important as what it says. ‘€œThe realities of air monitors [are], they’re regional,” says Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee. “You don’t have to be right on top of the spot to record the data.’€ One advantage of the Conklin Orchard site is that it’s free. Because it’s located on county property, there is no additional land lease cost.
The 2009 annual “State of the Air report” report from the American Lung Association gave an F grade to air quality in Orange, Ulster, Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester counties. Rockland and Sullivan counties were not included in the report because they don’t have air quality monitors.
“This report shows that far too many Hudson Valley residents are being forced to breathe air not only unhealthy, but potentially deadly,” said Michael Seilback, the association’s vice president and head of public policy and communications.
Sources: Times Herald-Record 5/29, Journal News: 5/20, 5/22 opinion, 5/22 blog