La Salle waits for a replacement piece before air monitor can be set up

Carus LLC donated air monitor in July

Pictured (L-R): Richard Landtiser, PhD, vice president of innovation, technology, and environmental health and safety, Andy Johnston, president & CEO, Joe Jeppson, Third Ward Alderman for LaSalle, and Lyndsay Bliss, vice president of human resources & communications

The air monitor provided to the city of La Salle in July by Carus LLC will not be operable for three to four weeks, said Alderman Joe Jeppson on Monday.

“I know it’s unfortunate,” he told the La Salle City Council on Monday.

The monitor was donated by Carus in response to residents asking about the potential environmental impact following the company’s Jan. 11 fire at its La Salle plant.

Vice President of Human Resources Lyndsay Bliss said the city was setting up the air monitor when Carus became aware a part on the air monitor was defective.

“The Carus team immediately reached out to IQAir to get a replacement dongle and learned the required dongle was part of a larger recall due to production issues,” she said. “Therefore, the dongle for the air monitor is on backorder. Our team asked IQAir if there could be other options for getting the replacement dongle. However, the manufacturer says the dongle is specific to the IQAir software, and therefore, is a required part.”

Bliss said Carus is checking with IQAir weekly, and keeping Jeppson updated.

Carus paid for three years of WiFi to allow public access to the air monitor through a web hosting service.

Volunteers from the Sierra Club had advised residents to pursue an air monitor to measure for possible air pollution. A review of continuous monitoring from the air monitor at La Salle Public Library indicated a significant increase in three-hour averages the day of the fire and slowly increasing levels as Carus brought its processes back online, said Denise Trabbic-Pointer, a certified hazardous materials manager volunteering her time in La Salle, at a previous council meeting. Pointer indicated these findings should warrant further testing.

“Carus has heard these concerns and wants to offer our neighbor’s further reassurance that emissions from our operations are not polluting the environment or the air around their homes by donating an air quality monitor to the city,” said Richard Landtiser, vice president of innovation, technology, and environmental health and safety at Carus in a July news release.

The air monitor was one of the requests To Carus from residents. After meeting with aldermen Bob Thompson and Jordan Crane, Carus decided to donate an air monitor and set up a task force made up of residents, city officials and Carus administrators to come up with a plan in the event of another emergency.

La Salle also has an air monitor located at the public library at 305 Marquette St.

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