Following a successful air filtration demonstration project at Los Angeles and Long Beach area schools, the South Coast Air Quality Management District has awarded IQAir North America with a contract to install and maintain high-performance air filtration devices at more than 40 schools in a heavily industrialized section of Long Beach.
“We now know that these devices can be effective at reducing children’s exposure to particulate matter in the classroom,” said William A. Burke, Ed.D., chairman of AQMD’s Governing Board. “This project will help reduce health effects that school children could suffer from high levels of outdoor air pollutants.”
Funding for the project comes from a settlement with the City of Los Angeles and community groups to mitigate environmental impacts from the TraPac Container Terminal Expansion Project at the Port of Los Angeles. Based on its experience with similar air filtration projects, the City of Los Angeles and the community groups asked AQMD to implement and administer the project.
The approved project will provide funding for the installation of high-efficiency air filtration devices for about 47 schools in the Wilmington area, a community heavily impacted by port-related activities. Once air filtration devices are installed at Wilmington-area schools, additional filters could be installed in San Pedro area schools if funding is available.
The type of device to be installed at each school will vary depending on the existing HVAC system at each school.
Funding also provides filter replacements and any needed system checks and repairs for five years. Installation of air filtration devices in Wilmington-area schools is expected to begin in spring 2011.
In early 2008, AQMD conducted a pilot study of classroom air purification systems at three elementary schools located near refineries, other industrial facilities and freeways in the Carson-Long Beach area. The pilot study tested the effectiveness of various air filtration devices at removing pollutants from indoor air. The results showed that the low-cost, high-efficiency HVAC filters removed up to 90 percent of ultrafine particles and diesel particulate matter from indoor air.
Following the successful pilot study, in October 2008 AQMD approved $1.125 million from a penalty settlement with a nearby Valero oil refinery for high-efficiency air filtration devices at schools in the Long Beach and Los Angeles unified school districts. To date, classrooms at six schools have received air filtration devices.
In addition to the Wilmington project, four schools and one community center in San Bernardino and seven schools in the Boyle Heights area will receive air filtration devices funded by the UNOCAL Reformulated Gasoline Settlement Fund. AQMD will work closely with both communities to provide technical assistance during project implementation. Both communities are heavily impacted by cumulative sources of air pollution and were recently chosen for a pilot study to develop community exposure reduction plans as part of AQMD’s Clean Communities Plan.
AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Orange County, California, and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties in Southern California.
(NOTE: This story is from an AQMD press release; To see the entire AQMD release click here.)