Camden Community Joins DEP "Bucket Brigade" to
Fight Air Pollution
(04/02) CAMDEN - The Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) today launched the first
New Jersey "Bucket Brigade" pilot project in the
city of Camden's Waterfront South Community, training local
residents on how to collect air samples and measure pollution
exposure in their neighborhoods.
"This is an important part of Governor
McGreevey's commitment to protecting communities against
exposure to toxics and honoring communities right to know
about potential threats to their health and safety,"
said DEP Commissioner Bradley Campbell. "The Bucket
Brigade effort enables us to empower community groups so
that, working together, we can quickly assess how citizens
are being impacted by air pollution and identify ways to
limit their exposure."
The Bucket Brigade project is a community-based
component of a larger Air Toxics Pilot Project in Camden.
As part of the project, DEP-trained citizens use a simple
five-gallon plastic bucket to collect an air sample into
a plastic bag. The residents will take the samples over
a short, four-minute period during odor episodes or other
times of concern. These samples are then analyzed for sulfur-containing,
odorous substances and volatile organic compounds such as
Two community groups are participating
in the Bucket Brigade, including South Camden Citizens in
Action and the Antioch Community Development Corporation.
Today, the Bucket Brigade took four baseline air samples
in the Camden Waterfront South neighborhood. About 11 samples
are planned over the next three-to-four months during odor
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) awarded the DEP a $100,000 grant to support the Air
Toxics Pilot Project. The bucket samplers cost approximately
$100 each and are reusable. As part of the Air Toxics Pilot
Project, approximately, $20,000 was given to the Camden
County Health Department to assist the DEP in collecting
air emissions information and to conduct additional air
compliance inspections in Camden.
"When residents are aware of and involved
in what is happening in their local environment, everyone
benefits," said Jane M. Kenny, EPA Regional Administrator.
"The Bucket Brigade will give people a better understanding
of what is in the air they breathe -- information that is
particularly important to Camden residents, who suffer from
high rates of asthma. EPA is proud to support this project."
DEP launched the pilot project in the Camden
Waterfront South area because of known sources of air toxics
emissions in and near the residential community. Although
the DEP has been monitoring in the air for a number of years
in Camden, more detailed information about air toxics and
particulate matter emitted by individual facilities in this
neighborhood is limited. Information about how these emissions
result in actual inhalation exposure for citizens living
in the neighborhood also is limited.
"The air samples collected by residents
will help fill in important data gaps about local air pollution
and help assess residents' potential exposure to outdoor
pollutants," Commissioner Campbell added.
In addition to monitoring air quality through
Bucket Brigade efforts, the pilot project will include fine
particulate sampling. A monitor that measures fine particulate
matter (particles with a diameter less than 2.5 micrometers,
also known as PM2.5) has been placed on the roof of the
Camden County Utilities Authority building near the corner
of Ferry and Jackson Streets. This monitor uses a continuous
sampling and analysis method that allows the observations
to be viewed in real-time. The results are now available
on the DEP website at www.state.nj.us/dep/airmon/.
The Air Toxics Pilot Project is focusing
on industrial and manufacturing sources of air pollution,
plus particulate emissions from diesel trucks. Most of the
sources are located within the boundaries of the Waterfront
South neighborhood, but some large facilities or sources
of special concern that are located near the neighborhood
are also included. Over 50 facilities were identified for
inclusion in the pilot and 27 of these facilities have been
included in a dispersion modeling analysis. Dispersion modeling
is a mathematical calculation that predicts how far, how
fast, and in what direction certain gases and/or particulate
matter will move into the air from any given location.
A major component of the Air Toxics Pilot
Project is to formulate strategies to reduce exposure and
prevent air pollution in the Camden Waterfront South neighborhood.
DEP, local community members, the state Department of Health,
New Jersey Tree Foundation, and others are currently formulating
a list of projects that could be undertaken by companies,
government agencies, schools and community groups to help
improve the neighborhood's air quality. Some of those strategies
include pollution prevention activities at local industries,
reducing idling by diesel trucks, environmental health education
initiatives, and community gardens.
DEP has operated a comprehensive air monitoring
laboratory in Camden for more than 30 years. The original
monitoring facility was shut down in September 2003 and,
this month a new, upgraded facility was opened to accommodate
DEP's expanded monitoring activities. In addition, an improved
platform is under construction for some of the sampling
equipment previously located on the roof of the old structure.
The site, located at Copewood and Davis Streets, is one
of the most comprehensive in the state and monitors for
a wide range of air contaminants.