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The City’s first air quality study is proceeding smoothly, with officials on target to deliver their first results at an Aug. 29 meeting.
The City has contracted with RHP Management in the six-month study to determine what pollutants, if any, are coming from a waste transfer station site operated by Advanced Disposal at 1711 Church St.
Officials from the City and RHP Management, the firm selected to conduct the $272,000 air quality monitoring study, gathered July 25 north of the transfer station on the south end of Twiggs Park for a demonstration on how weekly air samples are taken.
As a small group of residents and officials looked on, Frank Pagone, a senior associate at RHP, climbed a ladder and removed a hand-sized wireless air monitoring device from a metal box suspended about halfway up a light pole.
Back on the ground, he downloaded the air sampling data into a cloud-based server on his laptop.
In the air quality study, RHP equipment uses special sensors capable of monitoring more than a dozen pollutants with parts per billion precision.
“It takes about a half hour to download the data, perform the calibrations and then get the equipment back up and running,” Mr. Pagone told the dozen or so people who gathered at the scene.
The test results are to be used to determine whether the odors residents have for years reported emanating from Advanced Disposal on Church Street contain any harmful pollutants.
Funding for the study comes from the $1.2 million the City received in a lawsuit settlement in March 2016.
Advanced Disposal, then known as Veolia, brought the lawsuit against the City initially, charging that the fee the City had imposed was an effort to force the company out of Evanston.
Along with the air quality study, RHP’s work will include a 30-day traffic evaluation to better understand how traffic patterns may be affecting air quality in the area, officials said.
RHP is scheduled to present the first findings of the air quality study at a community meeting scheduled for 6:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 29 at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St.
A second community meeting is scheduled at the same time on Oct. 24 at Fleetwood-Jourdain, said Kumar Jensen, the City’s Chief Sustainability and Resilience officer and project manager for the study.
Mr. Jensen said the July 30 demonstration was held so residents would have a better feel for how the study works.
“I think it’s really useful and helpful to give people an idea what it actually takes to run a study like this, what some of the potential pitfalls can be, and what it actually looks like to collect some of this data rather than just looking at some charts on a slide show.”
In the air quality study, RHP has installed four monitoring stations around the transfer station as well as a monitoring station outside the target area.
Once data is in, RHP will look at the results to determine whether neighborhood-level concentrations of pollutants are significantly higher than those measured at Twiggs Park, which is the control site.
In addition, further analysis of the air pollution data upwind and downwind should determine whether activities at the transfer station are the source, officials said.
Up-to-date information about the study, is available at cityofevanston.org/transfer station. The data analysis completed by RHP on collected air quality can be viewed at evanstonair.info.