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How to get status of a specific EPA monitor
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Author:  nrgRadmagic [ Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:12 am ]
Post subject:  How to get status of a specific EPA monitor

Is there any way to find out why the EPA has turned off a specific monitor? The Knoxville, TN (30 miles east of Oak Ridge, TN) monitor has been mostly off for the last several weeks. Because I live nearby, I wanted to know why it was off and if it will be turned back on. Is there a resource at the EPA (or anywhere else) that can provide that information?

Author:  KingCobra [ Wed Jun 13, 2018 3:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get status of a specific EPA monitor

I can only suggest that you call around through the EPA numbers you find online.

Please keep us updated with anything that you find out. It also might be a good idea to do some research on your nearby radioactive locations and see if any of them have had a problem recently that the EPA might have shutdown the monitors as a result.

Author:  Bert490 [ Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get status of a specific EPA monitor

The people at Radnet can and do respond to inquiries. You can use their contacts page to send a web mail message, or use the phone number there:
https://www.epa.gov/radnet/forms/contact-us-about-radnet

Author:  nrgRadmagic [ Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get status of a specific EPA monitor

Thank you for this resource. I have sent the following message via that online form -

"I am a resident of Oak Ridge, TN and track the data readings of the gamma monitor installed at Knoxville, TN, Station ID 5:410.
I noticed the monitor was off and not returning readings on the following days in 2018 - May 12-14, May 17-30, June 1-7, June 7-15.
Could the EPA give some insight as to why this monitor specifically was not operational? Was there an incident nearby? Was it a maintenance issue?
Does the EPA maintain a back-up monitor to provide readings if the main monitor becomes non-operational?
Any information available would be appreciated. Thank you, Kathleen Vinson"

Will post any replies.

Author:  nrgRadmagic [ Wed Jun 20, 2018 11:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get status of a specific EPA monitor

Here is the response I received from the EPA -

"Thank you for contacting the EPA's Radiation Protection Division and for reporting the data gaps that you've seen on the Knoxville, TN RadNet monitor webpage.

We are aware that a component on the Knoxville RadNet air monitoring system is intermittently out of service. This is causing the data gaps you are seeing on our webpage.

The Radiation Protection Division"

Customarily vague language. Anyone have a idea what kind of component could be out of service? Does anyone have any information on how these monitors work?

Thanks.

Author:  nrgRadmagic [ Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get status of a specific EPA monitor

I have sent the following reply to Radiation.Questions@epa.gov -

"Thank you for the reply.

I have some follow up questions.

1) Could you elaborate on what component is out of service? I'm trying to understand how your system works, what are its limitations and what would cause a monitor to fail.

2) When your monitors fail for extended periods, such as this one has, do you have a back-up monitor that will provide readings for that period of time?

3) Do you ever publish any maintenance record for these monitors that is available to the public?

4) When a monitor is out of service, do you post this information anywhere with an anticipated date of return to service? Or is the only way the public can know their local monitor is down is to regularly check the website?

Thank you for any information you can provide,
Kathleen Vinson
Oak Ridge, TN"

Probably blow me off...

Author:  KingCobra [ Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get status of a specific EPA monitor

I would also be surprised if they reply to your follow-up requests.

Author:  Bert490 [ Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get status of a specific EPA monitor

As these monitoring stations are maintained by volunteers, I searched for recent info on the topic and found this powerpoint presentation by Radnet:
http://llwforum.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/19.-Lowell-Ralston-Fall-2017-LLWF-10.16.17-PM.pptx
It describes the hardware and data collection methods, and confirms that they are operated by volunteers from EPA Regions, and state, local, and tribal health services. However improvements and upgrades are definitely being made:
- there is a plan to add GM tubes to all fixed air monitoring sites (resuming near-real-time beta measurements);
- they are now using cloud-based servers for faster response;
- some stations provide exposure rates in units we are more accustomed to (mR/h and nSv/h - Syracuse is one such station);
- air filter analysis results are shown, relating them to known events.

Author:  nrgRadmagic [ Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get status of a specific EPA monitor

This powerpoint is very informative and it answered a couple of my questions. Thank you for posting.

Author:  nrgRadmagic [ Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: How to get status of a specific EPA monitor

The reply in full -


"Thank you for your follow up question.

Unfortunately, I am unable to provide individual component information. It's often difficult to predict exactly when a monitor will be serviced and the outage will be addressed. At this time the RadNet system does not include back-up monitors. All available that is collected and analyzed through our QA process is posted to the website.

The Radiation Protection Division

Angela Shogren | Public Affairs Specialist | U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Tel 202 343 9761 | shogren.angela@epa.gov"


Does anyone have any more questions for Ms. Shogren, now that I have her attention?

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