St. Louis: Monitoring Environmental Parameters in a Community at RiskEPA Grant Number: R828211
Title: St. Louis: Monitoring Environmental Parameters in a Community at Risk
Investigators: Forlaw, Blair , Kindleberger, Charles , McGraw, Kevin , Pelli, Sonya , Reardon, Kenneth F.
Current Investigators: Forlaw, Blair
Institution: East - West Gateway Coordinating Council
EPA Project Officer: Hiscock, Michael
Project Period: May 1, 2000 through October 1, 2001
Project Amount: $335,000
RFA: Environmental Monitoring for Public Access and Community Tracking (EMPACT) (1999) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Statistics , Water , Ecosystems , Air , Ecological Indicators/Assessment/Restoration
Description:The East-West Gateway Coordinating Council will collaborate with public officials and residents of the City of St. Louis (Missouri) and the neighboring City of East St. Louis (Illinois) to link and enhance existing environmental data bases that describe environmental hazards associated with the considerable concentration of abandoned and derelict residential and commercial properties in these two aging urban core communities. The environmental parameters of interest are lead paint, soil lead contamination, asbestos, chemical wastes that have been illegally dumped, and contaminants present in older industrial brownfield sites.
Approach:Data about these and other problems are collected and stored by local, state, and federal agencies. But this information is not fully used by local stakeholders to avoid adverse health and ecological effects or to solve problems because the existing data systems are fragmented, incomplete, and inaccessible to the public. The applicant partners will cooperate with several identified agencies to establish links between existing systems and use Cold Fusion or a similar web application server to make appropriate components available to the public on a site established for this purpose on the World Wide Web. Professionals from the local jurisdictions will investigate and use a GPS receiver to pinpoint the location of any new hazards cited by local stakeholders and add these to the linked information system.
Residents of the targeted communities indicated a desire for better information about environmental problems in three recent EPA-sponsored outreach activities: the Gateway Initiative (Region V), the Listening Tour (Region VII), and an EMPACT-funded survey conducted by the applicant, A full 32 percent of these residents have no high school diploma, and 61 percent currently have no access to the internet. In addition to the web site, therefore, the proposed project will feature newsletters and community meetings using a variety of innovative communication tools, including multi-layered GIS displays of neighborhood issues.
Local residents will also have the opportunity to learn more about how they can take steps to avoid environmental risks through a replication of the Dorchester Lead Safe Yard Project which the partners will undertake in the City of East St. Louis. This replication will include soil sampling in situ by public-health officials, followed by a coordinated community and resident education campaign regarding risk avoidance and remediation. Staff of the University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign's East St. Louis Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center will assist with the implementation of this part of the project.