Air in south KCK gets clean bill of health after long testing period

Jim Gulliford, EPA regional administrator, today gave a clean bill of health for air quality in the southern part of Kansas City, Kansas. His announcement was at the South Patrol station at South 21st and Metropolitan Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Mary Rupert)

by Mary Rupert

The Environmental Protection Agency today gave a clean bill of health to air quality in the Argentine, Armourdale and Turner areas of Kansas City, Kansas.

In fall 2017, a study, the Kansas City Transportation Local-Scale Air Quality Study (KC-TRAQS), was launched to test the air quality in southern Kansas City, Kansas.

“Today we’re going to report to you good news,” said Jim Gulliford, EPA regional administrator, during an announcement on Wednesday morning at the community room at the South Patrol police station near South 21st and Metropolitan Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas. The South Patrol station is built on a remediated Superfund site and is close to railroad yards, highways and industries.

“The EPA’s six monitoring stations reported air quality that was well within EPA’s initial ambient air quality standards,” he said. Both EPA and the community worked together on the project, he added.

“We know that the Greater Kansas City air quality does meet the national EPA air quality standards,” Gulliford said. There are monitors through Greater Kansas City.

In this case, EPA was able to come into a local community, do additional testing, and found that the monitors are functioning and the results were accurate, he said.

“We hope this provides you with satisfaction as well,” he said.

The six monitors on the south side also were consistent with a monitoring station on the north side of Kansas City, Kansas, near 10th and Nebraska Avenue, one of the permanent monitoring stations in the area, he said.

He said the EPA teamed up with the community, and did the work they asked, tested the systems of providing additional monitoring data, and are satisfied with the results.

This KC-TRAQS testing project used a “citizen science” approach, with students at area schools participating in the air testing.

Students and teachers from Harmon High School, Rosedale Middle School, Turner High School and Wyandotte High School participated in air testing. Portable air monitors were “checked out,” he said, and used to test air quality in various locations.

The KC-TRAQS study tested for fine particle pollution and black carbon.

UG Commissioner Angela Markley, 6th District, today said she was pleased with the results of the air quality testing on the south side of Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Mary Rupert)

Unified Government Commissioner Angela Markley expressed appreciation to the students and teachers, as well as the EPA. She said it was an opportunity to be educated about air quality as well as to be reassured.

“I’m very happy with the results, obviously, I’m raising my family here, so I wanted to have positive results from the study,” she said.

The testing was prompted by individuals and organizations concerned about air quality.

Andy Williams, regional director of public affairs for BNSF railroad, said BNSF has done a number of things over the years to reduce air emissions. He said the air quality at the Argentine Yard is clean and meets all air quality standards at the federal, state and local levels.

Williams, a former reporter with the Kansas City Kansan, said that BNSF has cut its carbon emissions by 80 percent from 2008 to 2014 at the BNSF Railway Argentine Yard.

BNSF has worked with EPA, Williams said. It retrofitted locomotives, implemented idle control technology, and relocated intermodal operations involving truck traffic from Argentine to Gardner.

The EPA displayed the portable air quality monitors, foreground, at the announcement today. (Photo by Mary Rupert)
Displays shown at today’s announcement outlined the testing program and the results. (Photo by Mary Rupert)
Displays shown at today’s announcement outlined the testing program and the results. (Photo by Mary Rupert)
Displays shown at today’s announcement outlined the testing program and the results. (Photo by Mary Rupert)
Displays shown at today’s announcement outlined the testing program and the results. (Photo by Mary Rupert)
Displays shown at today’s announcement outlined the testing program and the results. (Photo by Mary Rupert)
Displays shown at today’s announcement outlined the testing program and the results. (Photo by Mary Rupert)
Displays shown at today’s announcement outlined the testing program and the results. (Photo by Mary Rupert)

Accident reported on Turner bridge

An accident scene around 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, where eastbound traffic on the Turner bridge over the Kansas River was closed off at about 59th Street Lane. The accident has since been cleared and the lanes have reopened.
An accident scene around 9:45 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, where eastbound traffic on the Turner bridge over the Kansas River was closed off at about 59th Street Lane. The accident has since been cleared and the lanes have reopened.

Rain in today’s forecast

Rain is in the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday. (National Weather Service graphic)

A 50 percent chance of rain is in today’s forecast, after 3 p.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Rain may continue this afternoon and overnight into early Thursday morning, the weather service said.

Isolated thunderstorms are possible, but no severe storms are expected at this time, according to the weather service.

Light wintry weather is possible on Friday, but confidence is low at this time on the chance of snow and the location, the weather service said. Only light snow is predicted at this time.

Today, there is a 50 percent chance of rain after 3 p.m., with a high near 67, the weather service said. A south wind of 8 to 17 mph will gust as high as 34 mph. Less than a tenth of an inch of rain is predicted.

Tonight, there is a 90 percent chance of rain before 9 p.m., then rain and possibly a thunderstorm between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m., then rain after 3 a.m., according to the weather service. Patchy fog is possible after 11 p.m. The low will be around 49 with a south wind of 16 to 20 mph, gusting as high as 32 mph. Between a quarter and half-inch of rain is possible.

Thursday, it will be mostly cloudy, and a cold front will move through with the temperature falling to around 39 by 5 p.m., the weather service said. A west southwest wind of 11 to 16 mph will become north northwest in the afternoon. Winds may gust as high as 25 mph.

Thursday night, there will be a 30 percent chance of rain before 1 a.m., then a chance of rain and snow between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m., then a chance of snow after 4 a.m., according to the weather service. The low will be around 31 with a north wind of 6 to 8 mph. Less than a tenth of an inch of precipitation is possible.

Friday, there is a 20 percent chance of snow before 11 a.m., then a slight chance of rain and snow between 11 a.m. and noon, then a slight chance of rain after noon, the weather service said. The high will be near 40 with a north wind of 6 mph becoming calm in the morning.

Friday night, there is a 20 percent chance of rain and snow before 9 p.m., then a slight chance of snow between 9 p.m. and midnight, according to the weather service. The low will be around 28.

Saturday, it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 48, the weather service said.

Saturday night, it will be mostly clear, with a low of 30, according to the weather service.

Sunday, it will be sunny with a high near 55, the weather service said.

Sunday night, it will be partly cloudy, with a low of 36, according to the weather service.

Monday, it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 56, the weather service said.

Monday night, there is a 30 percent chance of rain, with a low of 40, according to the weather service.

Tuesday, there is a 50 percent chance of rain, with a high near 51, the weather service said.

For more weather information, visit www.weather.gov.