Study: 2020 Local Ambient Air Pollution Concentrations Fell Sharply as Vehicle Traffic Shrank & Clairton Plant Operations Hel...
A study analyzing area traffic and ambient air quality data from
an air quality monitoring station near U. S. Steel’s Mon Valley
Works found that there was a 40% decrease in particulate matter
(PM2.5) ambient air concentrations when comparing readings from
before and after the COVID-19 stay-at-home order in Spring
In the study, environmental consulting firm Trinity Consultants
verified U. S. Steel’s finding that included an analysis of data
collected from the Liberty Monitor, along with Pennsylvania
Department of Transportation (PennDOT) traffic data taken from
within a 40-mile radius of that site. Over the period reviewed,
there was no change in production at the Clairton Plant, while the
number of total vehicles on southwestern Pennsylvania roadways in
the area examined fell by 50%.
The data review opportunity afforded by these unique
circumstances, suggests a direct, significant correlation between
the amount of vehicle traffic and Liberty Monitor PM2.5
concentrations. Both U. S. Steel and Trinity intend to further
examine these findings and share them with the appropriate state
and local authorities, including the Allegheny County Health
Department. These findings are consistent with several other
reports of substantial improvements in PM 2.5 concentrations in
other cities during similar reductions in vehicle traffic as a
consequence of COVID-19 shelter in place orders.
“Trinity confirmed that there was a significant correlation
between vehicle traffic volumes and monitored PM2.5 concentrations
at Liberty around the time of the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.
Further evaluation of this dataset, as well as traffic and monitor
concentrations from other timeframes, could prove useful to more
fully understand PM2.5 contributions,” said Ian Donaldson, managing
consultant, Trinity Consultants.
“These findings shed light on the impact that mobile sources,
such as vehicle emissions have on our community, including during
weather conditions such as inversions, and indicate the importance
of multifaceted strategies to address the impact of inversions. We
look forward to exploring this further and support and encourage
similar efforts by other members of our community,” said Brett
Tunno, DrPH, environmental engineer, U. S. Steel.
U. S. Steel is targeting a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas
emission (GHG) intensity by 2030, using 2018 as the baseline year
for measurement. The company views its ‘Best of Both’ strategy as a
companywide investment in sustainability, by incorporating electric
arc furnace (EAF) steelmaking to reduce GHG emissions and improve
the scrap recycling rate within U. S. Steel.
Founded in 1901, the United States Steel Corporation is a
Fortune 250 company and leading integrated steel producer. With
extensive iron ore production and an annual raw steelmaking
capability of 23.2 million net tons, U. S. Steel produces high
value-added steel products for the automotive, infrastructure,
appliance, container, and energy industries. The company’s “Best of
Both” integrated and mini-mill technology strategy is advancing a
more secure, sustainable future for U. S. Steel and its
stakeholders. With renewed emphasis on innovation and customer
focus, the company produces cutting-edge products such as U. S.
Steel’s proprietary XG3™ advanced high-strength steel. U. S. Steel
is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with world-class
operations across the United States and in Central Europe. For more
information, please visit www.ussteel.com.
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