Environmental Protection Commission Approves Contracts

June 20, 2019

ABI Public Policy Coordinator Drew Wynes attended the Environmental Protection Commission’s business meeting on June 18, 2019. DNR Acting Director Bruce Trautman spoke briefly prior to approval of several contracts relevant to ABI members. Director Trautman thanked the commissioners and emphasized that contracts are essential to the DNR. Legal Services Bureau Chief Ed Tormey followed with monthly reports citing efforts to assist disaster-stricken communities.

On the agenda were four contracts pertaining to air quality. Air Quality Bureau Chief Catharine Fitzsimmons spoke prior to the presentation and approval of the contract with the University of Iowa on behalf of the State Hygienic Laboratory (SHL). She stated SHL is responsible for all air monitoring except for Polk County and Linn County, which are local operations. Sean Fitzsimmons, the unit leader of the Ambient Air Monitoring Department, also addressed the committee. He passed around Purple Air Monitors, a new type of air monitor the Air Quality Bureau is going to use. He stated they cost $200 per unit and the bureau will be comparing the accuracy of these monitors with the current ones. Mr. Fitzsimmons added these monitors are the “most promising monitors.” The budget for the SHL contract has increased $98,000; the reason for this increase is the replacement of an ICPMS unit.

The 2020 contract with Linn County Air Quality Division was approved by the commission. This is an annually renegotiated contract with Linn County’s local air quality division that has existed since the 1960s. The contract is $777,515 and reflects a $38,455 increase from SFY 2019. The increase is likely “due to expected costs increases for activities funded with Title V emissions fees and PSD application fees.” After a brief discussion, a contract with the Polk County Air Quality Division was also approved. The Polk County contract is $876,511, $10,907 less than SFY 2019. It is noted this is due to expected reductions in Title V application fees. Polk County has also agreed to pledge $373,761 from local funding sources.

The 2020 contract with the University of Northern Iowa-Iowa Air Emissions Assistance Program (IAEAP) was approved by the commission. It was stressed that providing technical support to businesses is the purpose of the Small Business Assistance program. The total cost amounts to $153,804. This is $3,014 more than SFY2019 due to projected increases in “professional and technical assistance.”

The commission also approved a water quality contract with SHL for Manganese Environmental Monitoring and Laboratory Services. This contract will exist from July 1, 2019-June 30, 2022 to address manganese in water supplies. It was noted that symptoms of manganese poisoning are similar to that of lead poisoning. The contract is $54,359.10. Iowa's Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is the funding source for the contract.

Next month’s EPC Business Meeting will take place on July 16. For more information about the EPC meeting, please contact Drew Wynes.