Metro Brief

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 24, 2009 7:29 AM

County air quality discussed

A vehicle with a bumper sticker that read “Clean Coal is a Dirty Lie” was parked outside of the Johnson County Administration Building on Monday evening.

The Johnson County Board of Health met with the Board of Supervisors Monday to update the supervisors on current issues and to review their annual report for fiscal 2008.

Board of Health Chair Paul Deaton said according to a recent study, Johnson County ranked fourth-worst among 14 places in Iowa tested for air quality.

Terrence Neuzil, the chairman of the Board of Supervisors, noted three main detriments to the area’s air quality: burning coal at local power plants, air pollution on Interstate 80, and gravel dust.
Neuzil said Johnson County’s air quality is not a problem of major concern. But “there are signs that have been identified that show we are going to have to put some mechanisms in place to deal with it,” he said.

The air quality was tested based on the amount of particulate matter in the air. Deaton said places with higher levels of particulate matter have higher instances of asthma and cardio-respiratory disease.

Deaton said he plans to continue to review data and act if needed.

The Board of Health also expressed concern in the amount of bottled water being consumed in Johnson County.

Maureen McCue, a member of the Board of Health, said the rate at which bottled water is being consumed is detrimental to the environment, the economy, and to personal health.

—by Chris Clark

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