This is great news. I was wondering if you could share the project/research study that was awarded with the air monitoring grant?
I am curious because Northport still has been unable to get funding or approval for just the one air monitor we were promised and, until recently, thought was in place near the border, as this was where we were told a constant monitor would be operated by Teck and reviewed by Ecology due to the extremely elevated levels of arsenic and cadmium consistently detected in all four air monitoring phases done in Northport from 1992-1997. The levels of arsenic found was 200 times that of the recommended Safety levels and Cadmium was not much better. Per the agreement Ecology made with Teck (during phase 3) to approve their amended permit request to install the Kivcet smelter Teck was to monitor the air after the installation of the new smelter to ensure the toxin levels were as low as they predicted. Phase 4 was done for this purpose. The results showed that the arsenic and cadmium levels were still just as high as they were in the first three phases. Based on these results The ATSDR instructed Ecology to have Teck continue to monitor the air near the border (on the US side) and Ecology was to review Teck’s reports monthly. After phase 4 was completed the air monitor was removed and ow we find out no more air monitoring has been done in or near our area since. The closest air monitor is 35 miles away in Colville!
Is there any funding available for one air monitor in Northport? This is a major concern to the citizens of Northport since Teck’s air plumes are still visible, the same health issues are occurring, and some of the health clusters, specifically diagnosed cases of Colitis, are growing in frequency and in numbers of impacted residents, most children. Given this information along with the fact no monitoring has been done of our air since the Kivcet smelter monitoring failed to show the lowered levels of arsenic and cadmium that they guaranteed in their permit application to install the new smelter 18+ years ago. Another major concern is all the data and information I have read on the Kivcet smelter design indicates part of the reason the air odor and visibility are markedly improved is due to the extremely small size of the particulate matter. Several articles I read, one was a memo from Teck to Ecology, states the size of the particulate matter has been hypothesized to be to small to be captured by any available air monitors. Considering the smaller the particulate matter the more dangerous chronic exposure is to people and coupled with the continued health clusters diagnosed in residents living in the same two mile radius the past health clusters were discovered and the area the air monitors for all 4 air monitoring phases were set up .
Any suggestions on who could possibly help us with this would be greatly appreciated. I have been in touch with Ecology and the Wa DOH. They both informed me they have no plans to install an air monitor in Northport since they believe the four phases already conducted in our area,(17+years ago) , are sufficient enough.
They were sufficient enough to prove we were, and likely still are, in danger if we were/are chronically exposed to the toxins and particulate matter in the air we inhale and ingest as well as absorb through our skin.
The current HHRA being conducted by the EPA has no plans to do any additional monitoring of our air either, they also stated that the four air monitoring phases Ecology performed were sufficient enough to prove an individual exposed no more than 35 days out of the year does not run a likely risk of developing health issues related to their exposure to the elevated toxins of concern.
When is someone going to address the likelihood our health issues are very probably linked to the unmonitored elevated toxins of concern we were not even made aware of until decades after their monitoring detected it?
All we simply want is an air monitor, I don’t think that is to much to ask?
I look forward to any suggestions you can offer.
The Northport Project
Hi Jamie — Do you know the cost of an air monitoring system? I assume we’re looking at $30,000-50,000 (the N2O sensor at my work cost 50k and the CO2 sensor cost 30k!). I have read about cheap air quality sensors that can be built using DIY gadgets, but I doubt their quality will have any legal persuasion.
I’m thinking unrealistically, but if the sensor isn’t too expensive we may be able to write a grant or raise funds to purchase one and then use it to teach STEM at the Northport school district. It may be a long shot, but it’s worth looking into.
That would be so amazing!! I will research the info and get back to you asap!
Have you tried to get in touch with Congress woman Cathy McMorris? She represents Eastern Washington in the US House.