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Tufts University Selected for Air Quality Study at Santa Monica Airport


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By Lookout Staff

December 4, 2017 – Tufts University begins mobilizing to test air quality at Santa Monica Airport today, a response by the City to long-standing complaints from neighboring residents about the health impacts of air traffic, particularly from jets.

The testing is meant to take advantage of the temporary closure of SMO as its single runway is reduced ("City to Conduct Pollution Study at Santa Monica Airport," November 16, 2017).

It begins before SMO is shut to aviation as part of its reduction in length from nearly 5,000 square feet to 3,500 square feet for 10 days on December 13 and continues during that period.

Testing then continues until after SMO re-opens and resumes its normal activities.

"This is a rare opportunity to assess the air quality impacts of aviation uses before, during and after the runway shortening project,” said City Manager Rick Cole.

The findings will serve as update to the air quality study conducted by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) in 2010 and 2011.

SMO is due to permanently close on the last day of 2028 under a consent decree between the City Council and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ("City, FAA Agree to Close Santa Monica Airport in 2028," January 28, 2017).

The shortening of the runway is being undertaken as an interim step the City hopes will reduce jets – the biggest source of complaints from neighborhoods in Santa Monica and West Los Angeles.

The runway shortening project is being done in two phases.

The first began on October 23 and until December 13 and is being performed nightly from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., Monday through Friday. SMO is closed to aircraft operations during those hours.

Phase Two begins on December 13 and conclude December 23, when all aircraft are barred.

“After the closure, the new airport configuration will limit the fleet mix of turbine aircraft operations by frequency of take-offs and landings,” a statement by City spokesperson Constance Farrell said.

“With this study, the City seeks to learn whether the change in the turbine aircraft fleet mix impacts the air quality surrounding the airport by comparing levels before and after the runway shortening against baseline data collected during the closure,” she said.

The contract awarded to Tufts University is for $54,342.


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