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Source: US State of Maine

September 25, 2019

CONTACT: David Madore, Communications Director (207) 287-5842 david.madore@maine.gov

AUGUSTA, September 25, 2019 – The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is working with the Town of Farmington to protect the health and safety of Farmington community members. DEP performed air quality monitoring for two types of air pollutants – volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM) in the immediate vicinity of the explosion site. VOC samples were taken Tuesday morning, the day after the explosion, and out of an abundance of caution chose to install two temporary air monitoring stations which began 24-hour monitoring at midnight on Thursday, September 19.

The results from the VOC grab sampling on September 17 showed that concentrations in the air at that time were very similar to the level of concentrations that are measured at other DEP long-term VOC trend sites statewide. Those levels were in the range of what DEP considers to be typical “background air quality” concentrations for VOCs, meaning there were no elevated or unusually high concentrations measured at the explosion site. These results were in line with expectations, since there were no sources of on-going combustion occurring on the blast site at the time of sampling. Burning of building materials may result in a wide variety of potentially harmful levels of VOCs.

The results from the first three days of PM sampling (September 20 22) showed that concentrations in the air on those days were also very similar to the level of concentrations that are measured at other DEP long-term PM trend sites statewide. Those levels were also in the range of what DEP considers to be typical background air quality concentrations for PM, meaning there were no elevated or unusually high concentrations measured in the immediate vicinity of the explosion site. The DEP checked the PM concentrations because this explosion and cleanup activities have the potential of producing fine particles that could impact air quality.

The recent air quality samples obtained by the Department have confirmed that the air in the immediate aftermath of the explosion is safe however DEP is committed to continue monitoring into the near future.

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