The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is releasing its first report on air quality testing in the area surrounding Erie Coke. The DEP installed 13 air quality monitors along the fence line of the plant in July along with 4 others in the neighborhood near the plant.  Funding for the testing is for one year.  The monitors were set up shortly after the DEP denied Erie Coke's application for renewal of its operating permit after numerous air pollution violations.

The DEP will release the results of the air quality testing Wednesday afternoon.  Erie Coke received the results before they are released to the public.  Erie Coke Environmental Director Ed Nesselbeck tells Erie News Now that the company is pleased with the report.  He cites an Environmental Protection Agency report that claims a large majority of benzene in the air comes from mobile sources, not from industry. Nesselbeck says the monitoring results being released today reveal that largest amounts of benzene were reported in area where there has been heavy truck traffic the past few weeks.  He says those monitoring stations are located near the City of Erie Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plant and at an area at the entrance of Erie Coke.  Nesselbeck says the company had a large amount of coke stored in that area and a judge ordered that coke be removed.  Trucks were used for the removal effort.

 Nesselbeck added that the monitoring stations that reported the most pollution are upwind from the plant's smokestack.