Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The Environmental Protection Agency says it will be monitoring air quality around 62 schools in 22 states including three in Allegheny County. The sites were chosen based on computer modeling, local air monitoring agencies and a recent series of stories in a national newspaper. DEP Spokesperson Patrick Egan says the monitoring will begin in the next three months and will take samples 10 of the following 60 days. As many as 187 pollutants will be tracked. In the region the Allegheny County health Department will monitor air at schools in the Sto-Rox, Clairton, and South Allegheny Schools Districts. The full list of schools that will be monitored can be found on the EPA's Web site. Results of the study will be posted on the same site. If high levels of contaminants are detected, the agency will take steps to reduce the pollution. Sto-Rox Superintendent Fran Serenka says she is pleased her elementary school was chosen. She says the equipment will be installed on the roof of the school. The school was named in the newspaper article last year as having some of the worst air in the nation. Serenka says this test will give her a better picture of the true air quality. She says if the results come back showing there are dangerous levels of pollution she will take steps to keep the air quality in the school itself as healthy as possible and then begin using her bully pulpit to force changes at higher levels.