Highlands renews air monitoring agreement with Allegheny County | TribLIVE.com
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Brian C. Rittmeyer

Highlands School Board has renewed a long-term agreement with Allegheny County for air quality monitoring.

The county’s Health Department has been monitoring air quality in Harrison since the 1980s, department spokesman Ryan Scarpino said.

The new three-year agreement for placement of an air monitoring station at Highlands High School runs through Dec. 31, 2021.

The monitor is part of a network measuring air pollution over 13 locations in Allegheny County.

Three monitors are in Pittsburgh and others are in Avalon, Clairton, Glassport, Liberty, Lincoln, North Braddock, South Fayette, North Park and near the Parkway East in Wilkinsburg.

Pollutants measured include sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, total reactive nitrogen, ozone and air toxins.

Under the agreement, the county will pay the district up to $7,500. That includes $2,000 per year in rent, and $3.50 for electrical compensation per sample run.

Air quality has long been a concern in Harrison due to Allegheny Technologies Inc.’s specialty steel mill in the township’s Natrona neighborhood.

Pollution levels around Highlands High School were once considered among the worst near schools in the nation.

The quality of air around the high school and neighboring community has improved since ATI closed a melt shop in 2010, based on data from the high school’s monitor, according to the Health Department.

Residents remained concerned about pollution from the mill and other sources as recently as December 2017, when a public hearing on new pollution permits for the plant was held at the Harrison Municipal Building.

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