The Department of Homeland Security is currently testing out how NYC is prepared to fare in case of a biological or chemical weapon attack — by pumping a non-toxic test gas across 120 different city locations (both above and below ground).
Their documents on the initiative state that: “The purpose of the tests is to collect quantitative data and information on the transport and deposition of particles that simulate the release of a biological agent in a major metropolitan area (UTD) and to evaluate the sensor architectures for rapid detection and mitigation of a chemical-biological event in the subway (CBT).”
According to Bloomberg — through this Friday, Oct. 29 — the non-toxic gas will be released in outdoor locations like Parks, plus the NYC subways. The entire operation first began last week on Oct. 18.
Though the exact where and when isn’t specified, stations like Times Square, Union Square and the Oculus transit hub were all planned locations, as they are the busiest and tend to be most full of people.
Of course, the gas is completely harmless, made up of household ingredients (like table salt, for example).
The MTA said in a press release that riders may witness “staff performing test and sampling operations.”
“The study will track movement of non-toxic material and the results from these tests will be used to learn more about the relationship between airflow in street level and underground environments.”
Now you know!