The Department of Homeland Security has started a week long chemical test of the New York Subway system, to test emergency preparedness official’s ability to detect and respond to bio chemical attacks on the subway system.
Starting today DHS will release what they say is a harmless gas throughout the subway system.
DHS is releasing a harmless gas and particles in the underground stations from May 9-13 to study “behavior of airborne contaminants” in the event of a chemical attack, a DHS release said.
The DHS Release Reads:
In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), the DHS procedures for implementing NEPA (DHS Directive 023-01 Rev 01, Implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act), and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR Parts 1500-1508), the Department of Homeland Security has prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) to evaluate the potential impacts to the human environment resulting from an airflow study throughout portions of the New York City subway system. The study is intended to gather data on the behavior of airborne contaminants if they were to be released into the subway. The proposed tests, scheduled for May 9 – 13, 2016, will include release of non-toxic, inert, odorless gas and particle tracers into the subway system and include sampling in various locations in the system.
According to DHS officials the test will better help them understand the effects of a chemical attack on the subway system with gasses such as sarin gas or mustard gas. The tests will also simulate an aerosol-dispensed substance attack with agents like anthrax or ricin.
Donald Bansleben, program manager of the Chemical and Biological Defense Division of the US Department of Homeland Security, told reporters on the subway platform that the exercise was meant to simulate the release of a biological agent.
“We know that subways are targets in general, so we are just trying to make sure that we are prepared for something bad that might happen.”…“We’re not aware of any specific threats against the subway. We are just trying to make sure that we are prepared,” … “There will be a lot of information that is not being made public. I think we do want to be careful with what we do say,” he said.
The non-toxic gas is set to be released in small concentrations at numerous midtown stations including Grand Central, Times Square and Penn Station, NBCNewYork reported.