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Iowa DNR Could Soon Test Air Near Keokuk School

Keokuk, IA – The Keokuk Catholic School Board will allow the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to place testing equipment on a trailer within a fenced-in area near the school. The agency had sought to have the equipment placed on the roof, but that idea was nixed over safety and liability concerns.

The Iowa DNR wants to test the air for manganese, based on a 2008 report in USA Today. The newspaper said the air near Keokuk Catholic School was among the most toxic in the nation.

Brian Hutchins with the Iowa DNR says the reported manganese levels near Keokuk Catholic School were higher than the agency would like to see. But he says it can be difficult to estimate emissions, as was done in the USA Today report, so additional monitoring is needed.

Hutchins says the Iowa DNR still has to examine the proposed site for the equipment. He says a new location could be sought if the fenced in area will not work.

The agency plans to test the air near Keokuk Catholic School ever six days for one year. When that will begin has yet to be determined.