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Salt Lake City School District first to earn EPA Leadership Award

Release Date: 5/14/2003
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      Denver -- The Salt Lake City School District in April became the first district in Utah to receive the Environmental Protection Agency Leadership Award under the Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program.

      This is also the first Leadership Award for the EPA's Region 8, which encompasses the six states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming and 27 Tribal Nations.

      The school district made the decision to voluntarily adopt the EPA's IAQ Tools for Schools Program approximately two years ago; thereby making the commitment to provide good indoor air quality in all the schools in the Salt Lake City School District. Last year, they completed the successful districtwide implementation of the program.

      The IAQ Tools for Schools Program can help schools achieve and maintain good indoor air quality using low- or no-cost techniques and existing school resources. The program offers a model management plan for schools that focuses on increasing awareness and developing effective communication strategies for dealing with indoor air quality issues. It is designed to help prevent indoor air quality problems from occuring and to guide schools through quick and efficient resolution of problems if they do occur.

      Gregg Smith, Director of Buildings and Grounds for Salt Lake City Schools, was instrumental in bringing the IAQ Tools for Schools Program to the district. A professional engineer, he said he has always been cognizant of the hazards of indoor air problems and wants to make sure the air in the district's schools is "as clean as it can be."

      "The EPA's tool kit gave us a step-by-step plan that will help ensure the indoor air quality in all our schools is improved for our kids," Smith said.

      "It also gave us the means to communicate with the teachers, principals and board members about air quality information and issues. That's been so beneficial in letting them all know that we are as concerned as they are, and together we can work through any air quality problems," he said.

      Smith said the Salt Lake City School District embraced the EPA program entirely as presented and that enabled them to expedite the process and get the problems corrected.

      "Since then," he explained, "we've used the tool kit two or three more times as new problems have crept up."

      Ron Schiller, Indoor Air Quality Coordinator for the EPA's Region 8 in Denver, said, "Unlike workplaces that are protected by Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, there are no federal regulations -- and usually no state or local ones either -- that apply to the indoor air of schools. That makes a program like this so important."

      For more information on the EPA's IAQ Tools for Schools Program or to request a free copy of the IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit, please contact Ron Schiller, 1-800-227-8917, Ext. 6017.