Environmental Policy

Johnson County Air Quality Study

Smoke billowing above the UI Pentacrest from IC landfill fire

Environmental policy researcher Scott Spak continues to collect data and conduct research in hopes of providing the Johnson County Board of Public Health with answers about how to improve the area's air quality for future generations. He hopes to have the Johnson County Air Quality Study ready for discussion by mid-2013.

The Iowa City landfill fire, which burned for two weeks in May 2012, prompted the Johnson County Board of Public Health and the Johnson County Supervisors to readdress concerns about the area's atmosphere. The goal is both to understand the fire's affects on the area's air quality, and to prevent future incidents. The Board and Supervisors want to use Spak's research to develop techniques and improvements for the area's air quality standards.

"The Johnson County Board of Public Health has had policy challenges in the past because they have not been able to access the necessary data to ensure the area's air quality is meeting the national standards," said Spak.

This research will help the Board and Supervisors to anticipate future issues in air quality from the various models and data observations Spak continues to develop.

Spak previously co-presented, "Where There's Smoke, There's Work to Do: Addressing the Air Quality and Health Concerns from the Iowa City Landfill Fire," at the Iowa Environmental Health Association's Fall Conference in October 2012.

Note: Photo courtesy of Scott Spak.