The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection have started air quality sampling at the Erie Coke plant in response to concerns by the members of a Community Stake Holder group. “We’ve already began sampling on July 17th it’s going to take a few weeks for our first results to come back,” said community relations coordinator Tom Decker.

13 monitor will be placed around the perimeter of the facility and at 4 locations throughout the community. The sampling plan is expected to run for 1 year and once the program is done DEP will send the information to a lab in California.

Edward Nesselbeck is the environmental director of Erie Coke. He said the plant isn’t the only contributor to the problem. “The greatest benzene contributors are vehicle exhaust and Erie Coke is a minor contributor,” said Nesselbeck.

Steve Narusewicz has lived near the plant for 55 years. He thinks the testing could’ve been done sooner. “Why didn’t they do this testing 9-8 years ago?” asked Narusewicz. The DEP said they can’t disclose the exact locations of where they’ll put the monitors.