Monday, February 13, 2012

Site history an important factor when planning new schools

Children are susceptible to poor indoor air quality in school.
Having enough schools is important, but not every site is suitable.

This blog has featured tons of entries about schools plagued by vapor intrusion from contaminated land, water or air, the effect of nearby highways and industrial plants, mold, radon and other factors known to influence the indoor air quality in schools.

Building schools on suitable sites should be a priority, since children are so much more susceptible to environmental pollution. As they are still growing, they eat, drink and breathe more in proportion to their body size than adults do.

In one of the latest school-location dramas, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is planning to build an elementary school in a working class neighborhood that would mean polluted property, a high-traffic area, train tracks and towering industrial plants nearby.

School would sit on contaminated land

The proposed site previously housed a gas station and a car wash.

Preliminary testing revealed eight underground gasoline storage tanks (one of them leaking) and unsafe levels of the chemical benzene in the soil.

Benzene is often used as a solvent and can also be a gasoline additive. The final extent of the contamination won’t be known until more testing is done.

CPS bought the property “as is” and would have to pay for all cleanup costs before building a school on top of it.

The school district paid $1.1 million for the property, and officials say there is a desperate need for a new elementary school in the community.

Aside from the soil concerns, the area also suffers from poor indoor air quality because of a coal-fired power plant in nearby Hammond and thousands of trucks, cars and freight trains.

Poor air quality or contamination issues become a concern because pollutants can enter the building and build up indoors.

Parents are concerned about the proposed site and would have preferred an expansion to the existing schools.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Good IAQ a must in schools
RAP Series: Carbon
air cleaners.

Whether it’s an old or a new school, good indoor air quality is a must nowadays.

Studies have shown that indoor air pollution in schools can cause or aggravate asthma and respiratory disease, lead to poorer attendance and lower productivity as well as other serious health issues.

Proper upkeep of the building, good ventilation and in many cases air cleaning will help keep the indoor air quality in schools at the optimal level.

Electrocorp’s air cleaners for schools and universities feature a deep-bed activated carbon filter for the removal of harmful chemicals, gases and odors, a HEPA filter for fine particles, dust and allergens and optional UV germicidal filtration for the neutralization of bacteria, viruses and mold.

The air cleaners are stand-alone filtration systems or they can be attached to the ventilation system. They are designed to run around the clock on a low setting to keep a steady supply of clean air circulating in a room.

Contact Electrocorp for more information and options.
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