LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A federal audit and a new state audit have detected problems in how the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District monitors particulates and ozone.
The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/199B22K) cited the reports, which were made public Monday, as another piece of evidence showing that the district that has been failing to meet requirements that it accurately track levels of air pollution blamed for contributing to lung and heart problems.
The Environmental Protection Agency's audit found flaws with the agency's particulate monitoring program, which confirmed earlier findings by state officials.
A second audit by the Kentucky Division for Air Quality also noted several issues and recommends "numerous hours of ozone data be invalidated."
"Proper oversight of personnel and the tasks they perform is essential to implementing a successful monitoring program," the EPA auditors said in the report, adding that the Louisville agency lacks "well-trained, qualified personnel in the operation of the (district's) ambient air-monitoring network. The long-term solution will have to address the agency's ability to maintain qualified, trained staff with strong technical skills."
The newspaper reports agency director Lauren Anderson did not respond to a request for comment made through, her spokesman, Tom Nord. Nord referred questions to Mayor Greg Fischer's spokesman, Chris Poynter.
Poynter said the city is expecting to get several more audits on air pollution monitoring in the next few weeks.
Based on the findings so far, Poynter said, "you can see we have a lot of work to do."
But he said Fischer "is committed to getting it fixed and getting it done correctly. That's why we are taking a methodical approach."
That approach includes the city hiring a private consulting firm that will look at every aspect of the air district, including equipment and personnel issues.
John Lyons, an assistant secretary in the Energy and Environment Cabinet, said it is unclear whether the area's ozone compliance has been affected.
"Much more analysis by (the air district) needs to be done," he said.
Local and state officials have cited improved air-quality monitoring in a requested to EPA to reclassify Louisville as meeting the national standard for fine particulates
The EPA's regional enforcement chief, Danny France, wrote to local officials that Louisville's fine-particle status was being reviewed for "pending and upcoming regulatory actions."
EPA spokeswoman Dawn Harris Young said the agency will "continue working with the (district) to improve its practices" and would "conduct a follow-up audit in 2014."
Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com