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District to test air at high school site

by Bob Gaetjens | Editor Published: August 27, 2014 12:00 AM
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Streetsboro -- In response to concerns expressed by some residents, Streetsboro City Schools Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh has said the district will pay for an air quality study at the future site of the new Streetsboro High School.

The new school will be built on Route 14 across from Laurel Lane and Deer Meadow Boulevard. The site is next to Jefferson Materials, which is an asphalt plant.

Some residents have expressed concern that dust from the plant may not be healthy for students and fans outside during athletic practices and games.

"Asphalt plants are very regulated," said Daulbaugh. He also said the school site is "downwind" of the plant and surrounded by trees which should help prevent dust. "We don't believe it's an issue, but God forbid we build the high school, and there was an issue."

City Council member Jeff Allen, who is among those concerned about dust, said he's happy to hear the school district is doing a study as part of its due diligence.

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"I would be very happy to see this done to put the residents' minds at ease," he said. "Hopefully they'll carry it to the next level and do an entire health impact assessment."

Sam Ruben, administrator of the Akron Regional Air Quality Management District, said the Jefferson Materials facility is permitted to produce 102 tons of emissions into the air each year, but the plant is producing between zero and 10 tons of emissions per year.

"They're doing less than a 10th of the emissions they're allowed," he said.

However, he said the weight of emissions doesn't necessarily correlate to the health effects next door; it's a better measure of a plant's effect on the region, he explained.

"We're looking at it from a regional, state and national count of what's being put in the air," he said. "Is that a problem next door? Perhaps. The plus side is that the company is not emitting all that it's allowed to, and, based on primary wind patterns, the school is not going to get a lot of blowing and drifting."

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Daulbaugh said he doesn't know what firm will conduct the study or how much it will cost yet. It will be subcontracted as part of the school facilities project.

He said he believes the testing will take place in about two weeks and that it will measure different times of day and include a period when the plant is producing at capacity.

Dust shouldn't be a huge factor because the drive to the plant is paved, he said.

"There are also some natural barriers between the school site and the asphalt plant," he added.

Email: bgaetjens@recordpub.com

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