Air quality monitoring is ongoing in several neighborhoods where residents complain noxious odors are making people sick.
Monitoring in and around Spring Grove Village and Winton Terrace began in mid-December following media reports about bad odors and concerns that illnesses could be related to toxic emissions from industrial plants bordering the communities.
Hamilton County Department of Environmental Services is doing 24-hour monitoring and portable spot monitoring in those two neighborhoods, along with Winton Hills, Winton Terrace, Spring Grove Village, St. Bernard and Elmwood Place. Interim Director Brad Miller reports 24-hour monitoring has occurred on 15 days and samples were collected in 20 locations.
Preliminary results from the past month do not indicate volatile organic compound (VOC) concentrations are out of compliance.
"To date, none of the concentrations have been above levels that require additional sampling," Miller says.
However, the samples will be sent to Ohio EPA for more extensive testing.
Collections will continue for another week and Miller expects it will take an additional 2-3 weeks to get results from Ohio EPA.
"For these various organics that we're measuring, there's not a specific standard that you can compare it to so they do what they call a risk analysis based on the concentrations, how many times they see that compound, and there's risk factors they use to determine cancer risk, and then they'll determine if that risk is acceptable in that area," Miller explains.
Hamilton County commissioners are already pushing for a joint reporting meeting with Cincinnati City Council and neighborhood residents.
"I would hate for there to be frustration about, 'Well, thank you for doing the monitoring. We have found that that isn't the cause of the odor but we still have odor and we still need to figure out what is causing it,' " says Commission President Denise Driehaus.
Commissioner Todd Portune also wants more portable canister monitors made available for resident to have in their homes so they can collect air samples when the odors are noticeable.
"It may be that there's something else in the air that came from some other source that's periodic like people dumping something in a sewer that's five miles upstream and it's causing odors to come out downstream," he theorizes.
Miller points out samples have been taken when odors were present, but says the department will hand out more canisters.