Environment State & National News

Health Department issues air quality alert for Wedgewood neighborhood

July 22, 2014

Health Alert: Wedgewood Air Quality

Effective immediately, in response to air quality monitoring, the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County (FDOH-Escambia) is issuing a health alert for the area surrounding the Wedgewood Community Center and the Rolling Hills Construction and Demolition Landfill in Escambia County, Florida.

Air quality monitoring has been performed by Escambia County at the Wedgewood Community Center (6405 Wagner Road, Pensacola). This center is adjacent to the Rolling Hills Construction and Demolition Landfill located at 6990 Rolling Hills Road, Pensacola. The monitoring has revealed elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide in the air at a minimum level of concern for long term exposure to humans. Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless gas which often has an odor similar to rotten eggs, but which may have no detectable smell when present in low concentrations. However, even low concentrations of hydrogen sulfide gas can have negative health effects.

Exposure to hydrogen sulfide may cause respiratory symptoms such as eye, nose, and throat irritation in some individuals. People experiencing respiratory symptoms should consult their physician for treatment and should stay inside their homes. According to FDOH-Escambia’s Director, Dr. John Lanza, “While inside, residents should close windows, run their cooling/heating system, and change their system’s filter, as needed. If symptoms persist while inside an air conditioned home, residents may choose to leave the area until their symptoms are tolerable.”

Persons who have questions about health problems or symptoms they may be experiencing related to hydrogen sulfide exposure should contact their primary care physician. Those who have asthma or other chronic lung disease should follow their disease management plan, and should call their doctor if symptoms worsen.

For medical emergencies, call 911 or go immediately to the nearest emergency facility.

The Florida Department of Health in Escambia County will continue to evaluate air quality monitoring results, as reported by Escambia County. Any further recommendations and alerts will be released as more information becomes available.

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  • Jeff July 23, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    jeeperman: Nope, they aren’t routinely monitoring the air quality of this type of facility. No money in the budget. I worked for a local county health department in the environmental division for 6 years, and we only got to start sampling when the pits starting catching on fire. And the results were buried after months of “analysis.” I smelled the burning sheetrock–even saw open flames licking out of holes in the soil “cover” just north of Milton. Everything’s A-OK!

    You know, pits like the one Gordon Goodin owns in south SRC. These connected people that will never be called to the mat. I’ve got good stories about violations out there and all over SRC.

    And they don’t test the water like in the past, either. The State made the decision to not make up for the decrease in Federal funding for “Healthy Beaches” in 2009.

    The Department of Health cannot “investigate” anything without direction from the Governor’s office or by a local complaint. And I can assure you, those local complaints are swept quickly under the rug if local power brokers are involved.

    And if you knew the shenanigans that go on with sewer system failures you’d never get in the local inland waters or eat a fish out of them.

    The system is rigged for big money–imagine that.

  • jeeperman July 23, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Betchya they were not monitoring the air quality until very recently.
    Again I say, the county should be sued for failure to enforce the rules in the permits the operators agreed to follow in order to open the landfills.