NYPD and Brookhaven Lab Conduct Airflow Study in Subway
The first day of the Subway-Surface Air Flow Exchange program began this morning on NYC streets and parts of the subway. Members of the public may notice the installation of air sampling and related equipment by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory accompanied by NYPD.
The sampling is scheduled to conclude by 3:00 p.m. The remaining two days of research, subject to weather conditions, will be announced by the NYPD and Brookhaven National Laboratory, 24 hours in advance, to the media and on social media channels. The public also can visit www.bnl.gov/s-safe for more detailed information.
Air sampling will be conducted in parts of the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and in Manhattan. In addition, researchers will disperse low concentrations of harmless gases known as perfluorocarbons at several subway and street-level locations in Manhattan for 30 minutes only during the morning of each study day.
The MTA welcomes the urban airflow study conducted by the New York City Police Department and Brookhaven National Laboratory, which will generate valuable information on how to safeguard the New York City subway system against any airborne contaminants. The NYPD and Brookhaven are working in partnership with the MTA to introduce harmless tracer gases into the system and measure how they disperse. These gases are safe for our customers and employees, and the entire test will be performed with no impact on them and no interruption to service. The NYPD does an excellent job of keeping more than 5 million daily subway customers safe and secure, and this test will bolster its ability to protect them and the city at large.
It is the largest urban airflow study ever conducted to better understand the risks posed by airborne contaminants, including chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) weapons as they are dispersed in the atmosphere and in the City's subway system. The NYPD will use the data collected during the three days of research to optimize emergency response following an intentional or accidental release of hazardous materials.
The Subway-Surface Air Flow Exchange (S-SAFE), as the project is formally known, was commissioned by the NYPD and funded through a $3.4 million Department of Homeland Security Transit Security Grant. It is the first of its scale to study airflow in a dense, complex urban environment both below and above-ground. Researchers from Argonne National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, along with additional meteorologists and engineers, will support Brookhaven's scientists as they track the movement of harmless tracer gases detected by air sampling devices placed in select locations on the street and in the subway system.