ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Just over a month after the devastating train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, questions and concerns over air quality continue across the country and in the Capital Region. Across Upstate New York, there are over a dozen air monitoring stations, including in our area.

With the derailment still fresh on the minds of many, News10 tagged along with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to see how the state ensures the air we’re breathing is safe.

Atop the Albany County Health Department building in Albany’s South End, there are a number of monitoring devices. Each analyzing a multitude of air particles to make sure our air meets EPA guidelines.

“We can measure the air quality and compare it to air quality standards,” said Dirk Felton, a research scientist with the DEC’s Division of Air Resources.

Sitting hundreds of miles from the derailment in East Palestine, some have expressed concern over the potential of toxic chemicals polluting our air in New York.

Felton says the state carefully monitored the station closest to the crash in Buffalo, especially when crews in Ohio released toxic chemicals at the beginning of February, “We actually did proactively look for that, and we did not see any impacts in New York.”

Monitoring isn’t just happening in the wake of an environmental disaster. The monitoring station atop the health department has been in operation for just over 50 years.

In that time, it’s played an integral role in the DEC’s study of air quality in the South End, which began after the community voiced concerns over train pollution.

“We tried to determine whether most of the local pollution was coming from trains, and we decided it was not, from the measurements we collected. But trucks were certainly impacting the residents,” Felton explained.

The site has also shown improved air quality since 2000. Levels of PM 2.5, which are small particles in the air that can pose health risks, have steadily declined since then.

“We were near the standard, but since then, we’ve come down. It’s from sources are cutting back, coal plants in Pennsylvania, trucks are cleaner, cars are cleaner,” said Felton.

The monitoring station on the roof of the health department is one of a handful in the Capital Region. There are also sites on South Pearl Street in Albany, as well as others in Loudonville and Stillwater.

Across Upstate New York, dozens of others exist. Outside the region, the closest monitoring stations are in Hamilton and Oneida Counties.