Air Quality in Cleveland - while Mittal's in "OFF" position

Submitted by Jeff Buster on Thu, 07/02/2009 - 18:45.

This is the Air Quality monitoring station on Broadway, just South of the Ball Field.

All the air intake instruments which were on the roof of the building have been recently removed.  I suspect the station is non-operational.

Wouldn't it be funny if, during the entire period when Mittal has been idled, this station had no data?


Or the plan...

( categories: )

I was wondering about our air quality now

you've been busy.

This should be investigated. We certainly should monitor air quality more than ever now that Mittal is closed, in the event they try to start it up again. Whose monitoring equipment is that?

I haven't noticed many ozone action days this summer, but the rain should keep that down as well. How has our air quality changed without Mittal?

Disrupt IT

Ozone Action Days

That's because the ozone has not been very high so far this summer.  Additionally NOACA is the group that calls them not DAQ


lilg [at] ohiocitizen [dot] org
Ohio Citizen Action
(216) 861-5200

Closed for remodeling

Liz would be the best POC for Mittal in town, imho.   Look up their anti-mittal campaign on youtube and search for the one starring Dave Nash... of Corporate Sustainability Network fame over at CSU.

As for the Cleveland Division of Air Pollution Control, they have promulgated enforcement ability from Oepa and their monitoring is done under federal and state mandate as I understand it.  The scope may vary based on local industry intensity of emissions but I drive by that pollution surveilance station daily and it looks like its being upgraded.  Gear taken down ahead of constructing the new deck, etc.  Lots of contractors working there last week.      Contact the folks there for the most accurate scooop.   They are essentially the OEPA, on the local level with only air under their perview.    Now as for rampant corruption, bribes, etc over there... I have never heard about that, but nothing would surprise me... they are city.

Then again the Cleveland Clinic and others have received huge air pollution fines for permit violations (or for lacking a permit all together as was the case with CCF's boiler a few years back)... but anyway.. folks do get busted for pollution.  Its just not enough.  To little to late.  Need more eco-cops... so keep eyes pealed.



What was the Clinic cited

What was the Clinic cited for? Was it for polluting or operating a power plant without a permit. They are operating a steam powered generator, all hospital have to have backup power. The clinic has what a natural gas fueled steam turbine? Others have diesel generators, I’m not sure but would bet the clinic has those as well, most large facilities do.

My guess would be that the Clinic power plant exceeded what can be without a permit. Bet it is measured in production, the CCF was outside of limits and nothing to do with pollution. They built a power generation facility, actually it has had one all along, it must have evolved or the laws changed or both.

Not sure somebody else may be able to say, but the CCF may actually be beyond back up and into self sustaining as for power generation? They may switch back and fourth based on prices, which is more cost effective, buying NG or electricity of the grid.

Nearly every large industry does that…

The Ohio Citizens action league is pro-responsible in all related industries and not anti anyone.

Great find!

Thanks for finding this Jeff, and for adding more information ZM.

Air Quality Site

Regarding the air monitoring site being discussed, we are completing renovations of the site, which is routine for all of our sites at different times.  This site has been under repair since late May 2009 and should be back in action shortly.  Regarding collection of air data near the Mittal facility, the monitoring site located at St. Theodosius (733 Starkweather Avenue) is operational and in close proximity to Mittal, so air data continue to be collected near Mittal.

Please let us know if you have questions about this matter or related issues.  Thank you.

Matt Carroll, Director of Public Health


mcarroll [at] city [dot] cleveland [dot] oh [dot] us 

Cynical about air quality monitoring? "fuel switching"

cleveland department of public health tremont air quality monitoring station

Good Morning Mr. Carroll,
Thanks for jumping in here.   
I am familiar with the monitors behind the "onion" church (partial image above, full station 9.28.07 below).   Those monitors are close to Mittal but are they in the prevailing south west wind path from the primary point discharges at the Mittal facility?
Annually, the prevailing wind 65% of the time is from the SW, SSW so the Broadway station would appear to be the one which would be usually down wind from Mittal.  
Does the Cleveland Department of Public Health have a “wind rose” diagram which graphically depicts the pollution loads, and the directions of those loads, which emanate from Mittal ?
A Realneo member brought this story about high sulfer/low sulfer "fuel switching" from the to my attention this morning.   It is clearly in the economic interest of any pollutor to "game" the system - in fact -  from Johns-Manville, to A Civil Action, to WR Grace, to Erin Brockovich we know that "gaming the system" is the rule, not the exception.
The reason I am concerned about the Broadway monitoring station being off line at the same time as Mittal is off line - is that if the Broadway station does not obtain air quality data during the period that Mittal is OFF,   will it be possible to definitively nail down the pollution load which emanates from Mittal, and not the general background pollution from down state Ohio?
Wouldn't it be in Mittal's interest, if only for local public relations, to not have data on the non-Mittal  background pollution collected while Mittal was OFF, so that when Mittal is ON, and the monitor is back on,  it will not be possible to separate out Mittal's load from the background load?
Does the Cleveland Department of Health also collect asthma attack data from local hospitals and other health facilities?   The level of acute asthma during the time Mittal is OFF is also very important data.  What's the data from Metro Hospital?  From the Cleveland Clinic?   From Huron?   From University Hospitals?
Only with health data can the real “economic benefit” of Mittal be determined.
Is Mittal helping Cleveland? Or is Mittal killing Cleveland?
Citizens are depending on the Cleveland Department of Public Health.  Does your Department have the resources you need?


They are starving us down

They are starving us down now Jeff, they begin killing us again soon enough.

Obviously if the monitor was brought online before Mittal there would be a spike when Mittal came back online.

Look mommy…cough cough the dragon is back.

The big question is when and if you get a big spike what do you do? Upgrade the equipment that is contested?

Then you have new equipment and then compare it to the old equipment data. It’s only relative while Mittal is operating. While it is not it is a null variable.

Air Quality in Cleveland - while Mittal's in "OFF" position

I know folks at Cleveland DAQ.  I asked them and the site is being renovated.  It isn't the only site in the city so monitoring continues.  You should get more info before jumping to conclusion and creating conspiracy theories.

Is Air Quality data on line?


Hello Ms Meyers,
As I have matured I have learned that conspiracy theories are almost always under theorized – Retarded.
When we thought we were being paranoid, we were actually being suckers.
So, the best way to dispel conspiracies or paranoia is with information!
Do your connections at the Cleveland Department of Public health have real time web sites where the public can view the operating monitoring stations?
There was almost always a full time staff person at the Broadway site during the work week.  What data was that staff person entering for the public record?  Can I click on it? Can I Google it?
You chastise Oengus “that he should get more information” “before  jumping to conclusion and creating conspiracy theories”. Where should Oengus go on the internet to find that information which will assuage his sense of conspiracy?
I have looked, and I haven’t found any air quality data from Cleveland on the web.  In fact a few years ago I asked for data from the Broadway site, and was told that there was specific protocols which I had to oblige before any information would be provided.
But, honestly, since our lungs breath the public trust air, and since the Feds pay for the Cleveland air monitoring, shouldn’t all the data be available to all of us on the net?
Why isn’t the data on the net?


I was not chastised, the


I was not chastised, the facility monitors and then when it sees changes in measured values it addresses them with who? Not me…I could extrapolate the data based on what exist around it, if I wanted to.

It has what; levels; that being the EPA has acceptable levels and if they are exceeded then what?

They go down the hill for a talk? They send the information to a cooperative of media meteorologists and the index moves up the gradient. Try not to breath as much today? I’m kidding. They are the source of the air quality indicators used in media correct? Is Uncle Sam selling that to them as good capitalist?

Jeff we do not give data away, we massage it and then sell it.

We are concerned that Mittal when operating can shut off what ever environmental systems they have.

The reading without Mittal should show a drop in certain levels, that’s obvious they are a major polluter.

I would say having access to the data, it would have showed a drop, if not then its validity would be suspect.

So if we want to know when Mittal is affecting us and the air, watch the weather forecast, the air quality indexes. They do not go down the hill, it’s a waste of time. What would happen if they did?

We saw a spike in our readings….oh thanks will look in to that.

Is it true they can pollute here and run cleaner in another facility, then it balances off. We already know that and is that why we cannot see the data real-time?

The data goes places, it goes into a table that keeps track of all facilities, then the facilities credits and demerits get averaged, then if outside the limit they get fined. The  online now would be cleanest, the last to come online if that ever happen is the dirtiest. Its all a matter of economics.  

They can buy the right to polute, it's the system they use. 

 Below is my response to

 Below is my response to comments posted today:

First, the operation or remodeling of the monitoring sites we are talking about have no link to any activities at Mittal. Whether data collection would be in Mittal's interest or not is irrelevant to and does not impact our operations.  Remodeling of the GT Craig site has been planned for about a year, and the schedule has been executed irrespective of the operation of the Mittal facility.  Also, the GT Craig site has been operating during most of the period that Mittal has been in reduced mode or idled, only being inactive from May 22, 2009 to present, and expected to be operating again within the next week or two.  So, the GT Craig site will not be offline during the entire period that Mittal has been offline.

As for the location of all of our monitoring sites, vis-a-vis wind direction and other strategic considerations, the US EPA is the lead in making these determinations.  We could provide some insight into how these decisions are made, but we would not be the ultimate source for that information.  Jeff's comments on prevailing wind may have some merit, but our understanding is that US EPA has considered this and other factors in site selection.

As for the collection of ER data on asthma-related admissions and the like, this is an interesting area of study.  There is a physician at Metro who has shown interest in this topic, and some data has been collected in prevous years, to my knowledge, but I don't think it has been conclusive.  We have always supported these kinds of efforts moving forward.

Finally, regarding public health issues in Cleveland, we attempt to tackle any pressing needs.  Documented health issues in Cleveland include very high rates of infant mortality, lead poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy, obesity, tobacco use and others.  Access to health care for Clevelanders remains a well-known problem that needs to be addressed.  We are always open to addressing identified public health concerns that can be meaningfully impacted.

Please let me know if we can provide further information related to this.

Matt Carroll, Cleveland Department of Public Health


mcarroll [at] city [dot] cleveland [dot] oh [dot] us


Now this is Real NEO

Knowing Matt Carroll and other regional health leaders from the Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council, I have lots of respect for our city health department, and their huge responsibilities, and appreciate this insight.

Thanks Matt, for adding to our understanding on these issues.

It certainly makes a difference to have direct information from expert sources. To me, that is the great potential of great information systems and social networks.

Now, to make this Coop and our social network as valuable as possible for Matt and the community...

Disrupt IT


Matt, Thanks for the input. I do remember a physician from Metro Health years ago doing studies on asthma and children in the city.  It is very difficult to measure the impact of pollutants vs. the home environment (cockroaches, pets, etc) on the respiratory system of children. It would be great to have the conclusions if she is a reader.

damn! I knew I shouldn't be exerting myself this morning

 Now at 2:09 this afternoon I get this message from NOACA

Northeast Ohio - Insufficient wind accompanied last night's cold front, so the particulate matter (PM) hanging over cities in Northeast Ohio remains with us.  The Air Quality Advisory has been extended for today and tomorrow, Feb. 3-4, 2010, for urban areas.  Regions currently affected by high PM include Cuyahoga County, Summit County, and Stark County, with moderately high PM in Lorain County, Medina County, and Lake County.
To view live air monitor readings for your own area, click on "Check Today's Air Quality"
PM is caused by industrial air pollution, motor vehicle exhaust, and water vapor.   Clean air and fairly strong winds from a northern direction will be needed to disperse this week's pollution.
If you have to perform vigorous outdoor activity today or tomorrow, and you live in a city, please be careful if you have a respiratory or heart condition.  The USEPA designates these high PM levels as "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups."
Basically - Mittal's on, people are driving around and coal is being burned. Add to that - the weather... don't breathe deeply today - keep up those shallow respirations, right?
Thanks for th heads up, NOACA!
Kinda like recieving this at around 11:30am - "Wow you made it to work this morning, but the commute was rough - here's what held you up. Check back around 8pm to learn why it took you twice as long to get home."