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EPA to hold public meeting Monday; follow-up PCB testing scheduled for Carpenter school and administration building in Park Ridge


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 officials met with the Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 superintendent yesterday to discuss the most recent results of PCB-testing in Park Ridge. EPA, in consultation with federal health experts has determined that there is no risk to students, faculty or staff at any of the schools. Test results will be explained at a public meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17, in the Washington School auditorium, 1500 Stewart Ave., Park Ridge.

Nicor Gas Co., with EPA oversight, has been inspecting homes, schools and a church in Park Ridge for PCBs in gas meters over the past couple of months. EPA and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry are working closely with School District 64 to ensure that the health and safety of students and school staff are protected. ATSDR is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Air and wipe samples were taken over the past few weeks at Lincoln Middle School, Washington Elementary School and Evergreen Presbyterian Church. The results showed PCB levels below what is considered a human health concern. These buildings were cleared by EPA and no further action is needed. No detectable levels of PCBs were found at Emerson Middle School, Field Elementary School, Franklin Elementary School, Jefferson School and Roosevelt School.

Precautionary follow-up testing will be done this weekend at the Carpenter Elementary School and the District 64 administration building both in Park Ridge, after PCBs were found in samples taken in the boiler rooms.

In June Nicor, the Park Ridge area gas utility, contacted EPA to report the discovery of PCBs in gas meters at four Park Ridge homes. The company had already replaced the meters and cleaned up the residences. EPA inspectors did follow-up testing of the soil, indoor air and interior surfaces. Small amounts of contamination were found in the soil outside two of the homes. The contamination likely occurred from spills as Nicor replaced the meters. After Nicor conducted a second cleanup of the soil at the homes, EPA took follow-up samples to confirm that PCBs were no longer detected. In all, Nicor tested 140 homes in Park Ridge.

PCBs are mixtures of synthetic chemicals ranging from oily liquids to waxy solids which were used in a wide range of commercial products. Because of evidence that PCBs persist in the environment and cause harmful effects, domestic manufacture of commercial mixtures stopped in 1977.


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