EPA will test air in schools next to airplane plants

As students start a new school year, the Environmental Protection Agency will start testing to determine whether Colvin Elementary students are breathing in potentially harmful chemicals released by nearby plane manufacturers.

The 60-day testing is scheduled to start the week of Aug. 17, which is the first week of school in the Wichita district, said Kris Lancaster, EPA spokesman for the region that includes Kansas.

Wichita residents could start seeing preliminary results of the air quality testing a few weeks after it begins, Lancaster said.

A chain-link enclosure to protect the equipment is already being constructed at the school, which is at 2820 S. Roosevelt.

The installation of equipment and the testing shouldn't affect Colvin students or staff, said Tim Phares, environmental services supervisor for the school district.

Colvin is one of 62 schools in 22 states the EPA selected for air quality testing. No other Kansas schools are included.

The EPA has started collecting samples at three schools, according to its Web site. Preliminary results have been posted for two schools in Tennessee.

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