• EPA working with South Seattle residents to clean up air quality inside homes

    By: David Ham


    SEATTLE - The EPA is teaming up with the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition to help homeowners clean up the air indoors.

    "This area of South Park and Georgetown have some of the worst air quality anywhere in the city. Also higher rates of asthma (than) anywhere in the city," said James Rasmussen, coordinator for the Duwamish River Cleanup Coalition.

    He said back in July the nonprofit entered into a cooperative agreement with the federal agency, which contributed $120,000 for the cause.

    The money will go toward in-home air quality assessments for residents primarily in South Park and Georgetown.

    "If we can get the air cleaner in people's homes down here that will help part of it," said Rasmussen.

    According to a study by the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, pollution from diesel trucks in South Park and Georgetown is some of the worst in Seattle. As a result, the agency says that the cancer risk from that pollution is higher than other areas in the region. The agency said that the risk for cancer because of the diesel pollution is 450 per 1 million people.

    Paula Lopez has lived in South Park for 10 years.

    She said her three children have been getting respiratory infections often.

    "My second and third one are getting more respiratory infections more often, they're getting more colds. It's just really a concern," Lopez added, "It's just scary to think about that. We not only have the trucks the buses we also have the airplanes passing. Unfortunately, we're getting pollution from everywhere,"

    Rasmussen said DRCC is working with the American Lung Association and Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to come up with clean-air solutions indoors and outdoors.

    He said one way to clean up the air outside is to plant more trees and create "green walls," which are ivy-covered walls near highways.

    "This whole thing is very much like a bowl and this pollution drops right into that bowl," said Rasmussen.

    The DRCC is encouraging more people to sign up for the free air-quality testing and receive a free HEPA air filter.

    The priority will be residents who live in South Park and Georgetown.

    "We're looking to provide the communities of South Park and Georgetown with something that's immediate," said Rasmussen.

    He said other tips to keep pollution out are to make sure that windows and doors are closed and sealed.

    Rasmussen said to get a free in-home air quality assessment or air filter, contact the DRCC:   http://duwamishcleanup.org/

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