By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
RIVERVIEW – Independent fugitive dust monitoring conducted at four city sites, from July 22 to Aug. 25, verified very low levels of dust, below EPA standards, during teardown at the McLouth site.
Senior project manager Joseph Konrad of Testing Engineers and Consultants Inc., of Troy, appeared before the City Council at its Nov. 25 study session to explain the findings, methodology and answer questions from city officials.
The stated purpose of the study was to document fugitive dust in the air during asbestos abatement and demolition at the former McLouth site on Jefferson Avenue in Trenton. The monitors measured the level of dust, but not the chemical composition of any of the particles.
“I was asked to do this to determine whether there were any potential health related issues with respect to dust that could be coming from a location nearby,” Konrad said. “If you are going to see something, you are going to see it when there is live ammunition being fired. So, they were doing the work, and we were monitoring.”
Samples were taken at four locations in the city: Seitz Middle School, 17800 Kennebec St., Forest Elementary, 19400 Hampton St., Memorial Elementary, 13425 Colvin St. and the Department of Public Works building on Krause Street, southeast of Riverview Community High School.
The high school, which was originally considered for a sampling site, was not used because onsite construction dust from the removal of lead paint from sports field stands could have contaminated the readings.
In the report, TEC outlines that the Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency to set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for pollutants considered harmful to public health and the environment.
There are two thresholds, a primary level aimed at protecting the at-risk population, such as people with asthma, the elderly and children, and a secondary threshold level, which is designed to protect public welfare, against decreased visibility, and guard against damage to crops, vegetation, animals and buildings.
Konrad said the sampling identified very low levels of dust at the sampling sites, with an average dust monitoring results ranging from 0.007 to 0.135 milligrams per cubic meter, for a blended result from all four monitoring stations of 0.047 milligrams per cubic meter. He said the samples taken during the 30-day period were less than the EPA’s primary and secondary standards.
Several outlying readings, which were observed at Memorial Elementary, were likely caused by nearby lawn mowing, Konrad said, because dust sampling sites closer to the McLouth teardown site did not show similar readings.
“The high school location is northwest of McLouth, and Memorial is northwest of the high school,” Konrad said. “If the winds are blowing northwesterly from McLouth, they would hit the high school first, and then Memorial, and there were no counts at the high school. You would see higher counts at the high school than Memorial if that was the source.”
Mayor Andrew Swift asked Konrad if winds could have carried dust from the McLouth demolition over the DPW monitoring site near the high school, and deposited the dust further away at Memorial.
Konrad said the heavier the dust, the quicker it will fall out of the sky, and it was highly unlikely that such wind conditions could occur more than once during a 30-day sampling period.
“There is no migration of dust from that site,” Konrad said, in reference to the McLouth demolition and remediation.
Konrad said the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy is monitoring air quality near the site, and recording wind direction and air speed.
“There are results posted for the (McLoth) site by EGLE, and I could take those results and match them against my results,” Konrad said. “Another tool is to get the lawn mowing schedule. There are things I could do. I could also map out the wind direction, which would give you further data.”
Swift suggested that city officials would like to know what did cause the occasional higher dust reading observed by the monitoring equipment, even though it was below the legal limits enforced by the EPA.
To see the entire Fugitive Dust Monitoring Report on the city’s website, go to cityofriverview.com/news_details_T2_R124.php.