Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport hired a consultant to study lead levels in the air, following calls from residents on the other side of the fence who cited a Sun Sentinel investigation that found smaller South Florida airports lead the country in toxin emissions.
The investigation revealed that the city-owned airport currently ranks 18th in the country for lead emissions among more than 5,500 airports, according to 2020 estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency, behind county-owned Miami Executive , and North Perry, which ranks 11th and fifth. respectively.
The study should be completed in a matter of weeks, airport spokesperson Arlene Borenstein told the Sun Sentinel on Friday, and will measure lead in the air “using the same ratios that the EPA did” in previous studies of lead emissions in the air. airports. He won’t look at the ground.
The main goal of the study is to “reiterate the fact that everything is fine,” Borenstein said.
He could not immediately provide more details about how lead measurements will be taken.
The EPA previously estimated lead emissions at the nation’s airports using data on the number of flight operations and the type of aircraft at airports. Small piston-engine airplanes, which mostly run on leaded fuel, emit the toxin into the air. The actual amount of lead in the air has not been studied at South Florida airports.
Residents surrounding North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines are still waiting for Broward County, which owns and operates the airport, to study lead emissions there. Pembroke Pines commissioners passed a resolution in August asking the county to do a study as soon as possible. Miramar did the same in September.
At a homeowners association meeting in July, residents of Lofts at Palm Aire Village, a community separated from the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport grounds by a fence, asked Mayor Dean Trantalis and other city officials to study the air and ground at the airport.
At the time, Trantalis said he had not heard of the issue before. He later told the Sun Sentinel that he was planning to gather “the department heads that were involved” and “take a step forward.”
After that meeting, Lofts at Palm Aire resident Michael Ray emailed Fort Lauderdale city officials a resolution from the homeowners association requesting a lead study in the neighborhoods around the airport. He was told that Trantalis had requested that the issue be brought before the commission at an upcoming meeting.
When Ray asked when the matter would be heard, city officials sent him an email from Rufus James, manager of Fort Lauderdale Executive, saying airport staff “have hired a consultant who is conducting a study and will prepare a report.” of the findings.” ” and “will share the report with the community once it is complete.”
It is not yet clear when, or if, the original resolution will be brought before the commission.