Susan Scott Peterson had been living in Pittsburgh for just a few weeks when she smelled it for the first time. The air was a little thick, a little hazy—and it smelled like a ripe porta-potty.
It didn’t take long to figure out it was hydrogen sulfide, a sulfur-smelling gas emitted by U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works, about fifteen miles south of her house. The plant manufactures coke, a fuel used in steelmaking—and it’s notorious for violating local pollution regulations.
But what could she do about it?
This is a story about the air we breathe, the risks we live with, and what it means to become a citizen of a place.
It’s adapted from an episode produced in 2021 for Outside/In, a podcast by New Hampshire Public Radio.
MUSIC IN THIS EPISODE INCLUDED PORTIONS OF “NOT DRUNK” (MIX-FULL-BAND-NO-VOCAL) AND “NOT DRUNK” (STEM-BASS) BY THE JOY DROPS AND“FRESH LIFT” BY SHANE IVERS, ALL LICENSED UNDER CC-BY 4.0. ADDITIONAL MUSIC BY BLUE DOT SESSIONS. ADDITIONAL SOUNDS EXCERPTED FROMSOUNDS OF CHANGE, MONICA137142, AND PREMNATH KUDVA, LICENSED UNDER CC-BY 4.0, AND FROM SOUNDBYLADYV, LICENSED UNDER CC SAMPLING +.
- Living with it: The story of one family and Pittsburgh’s polluted air - For those new to Pittsburgh, the realization that the air isn’t always healthy to breathe can come as a shock. That’s what happened to producer Susan Scott Peterson and her family.