Chicago Department of Public Health’s Demolition Air Monitoring Plan

Jan 14, 2022

Did you know that the city of Chicago has air monitoring requirements for demolition contractors? Demolition in Chicago comes with many regulations such as following the Clean Air Act and EPA’s NESHAP to name a few. One regulation that many may not be aware of is the Chicago’s Department of Public Health (CDPH) required air monitoring plan for contractors prior to demolition. Failure to comply could cause contractors to face fines or other severe consequences. In this blog we discuss the components of this air monitoring plan and required testing.

Monitoring & Modeling: What is required?

CDPH’s air monitoring plan has two phases. The first is the air monitoring plan itself and the second is an air dispersion model. This blog will focus on the air monitoring phase however, Indoor Science and our partners have the expertise to both monitor air quality and develop required simulations. The goal of the CDPH air monitoring plan is to minimize environmental risk prior, during and after demolition activities.

PM10 Air Monitoring

The first contaminant that is monitored is PM10. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes PM10 as particles in the air that are 10 micrometers or smaller that are inhalable. According to CDPH, “The PM10 monitoring shall be conducted using instruments designated as Federal Equivalent Method (FEM) by EPA or meet the requirements for a Near Reference PM10 Monitor as defined in these rules. If Near Reference PM10 Monitors will be used, a site-specific correlation  factor must be determined that calibrates the instruments’ readings against concentration determined by gravimetric sampling using EPA IO 3.1, NIOSH 0500, or other methods approved by CDPH”. CDPH’s air monitoring plan includes 24-hour monitoring on the demolition site for PM10. The monitoring must occur one week prior, the day of, and one week after the demolition. The samples should be collected at the upwind location, downwind location, and within 1000 feet of the demolition area. The levels of PM10 the week after demolition must be within range of historical PM10 levels. The information for historic levels of PM10 can be obtained from the city of Chicago.

Air Monitoring For Contaminants

The city of Chicago also requires additional air quality data for other common environmental contaminants. These contaminants include: lead, asbestos, silica, and respirable dust. Asbestos-containing materials are often found in buildings built before the 1980s and can be disturbed by demolition activities. Asbestos demolition is governed by the EPA’s National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) standard. Lead based paint is also covered in the NESHAP standard and is also often found in buildings built prior to the 1980s. Silica can be found in building materials such as glass, concrete, countertops, and ceramics. Respirable dust are particles smaller than 10 microns and can penetrate deeper into lung regions than inhalable dust and cause respiratory and pulmonary health effects. The CDPH air monitoring plan requires these samples be collected in the areas that the PM10 samples are collected. PCM or TEM sampling is permitted for the asbestos related component of the air sampling.

Additional Requirements

CDPH may require additional monitoring for the demolition site. The first possible additional requirement is a Phase 1 environmental assessment (ESA). This process determines the historical uses of the building and may require a field inspection to determine other possible environmental hazards of the site. CDPH may also require soil sampling of the site if deemed necessary. Soil sampling can provide information on metal content, presences of soil gasses, and other possible environmental contaminants present. Lastly, CDPH may require additional sampling and/or building composition information prior to demolition.