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.
Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google | TuneIn
Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces (ROCIS)
Articles about air pollution by The Allegheny Front
Articles about the Clairton Coke Works by The Allegheny Front
Resource list for groups working on air quality in Pittsburgh
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.