At a community meeting Monday night, Massport released the findings to an eight-year study that measured the environmental impacts of Logan Airport’s Centerfield Taxiway that was constructed in 2008.
As part of its Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) commitment Massport completed the Centerfield Taxiway Air Quality Monitoring Study. The goal of the study was to determine if a new centerfield taxiway would change air emissions near the airport.
The study involved the monitoring of the air quality in areas of East Boston and Winthrop close to Logan’s airfield. To achieve the goal of the study, measurements were taken both pre- and post- centerfield taxiway construction beginning in 2007. This final report was reviewed by both the Massachusetts Departments of Public Health (DPH) and Environmental Protection (Mass DEP), and concludes that the air quality surrounding Logan has not been adversely affected by the taxiway.
“Massport cares about its neighbors and will continue to work to mitigate the impacts of Logan Airport,” said Massport CEO Thomas Glynn. “An example of that is Massport’s rigorous three-phase study of air quality before and after the construction of the Centerfield Taxiway. In its final analysis phase, the study results were reviewed and commented on by the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Public Health. All analyses support the conclusion that the air quality in and around Logan has not deteriorated since the construction and operation of the centerfield taxiway, and for some parameters the air quality has improved.”
The construction of the centerfield taxiway was an essential initiative to increase safety as aircraft and maintenance crews, among others, move throughout the airfield. A taxiway is a critical paved route used by aircraft to navigate to/ from runways and airport terminals and other airfield locations.
Massport’s Assistant Director of Capital Programs & Environmental Management Brenda Enos said at Monday’s meeting that the study was conducted in three phases: pre-construction 2007- 2008; post-construction 2010- 2011; and the evaluation of data collected during first two phases.
Completion of additional supplemental work requested by DEP and the final report was done between 2012 to 2014.
As each phase was completed data/ information from the monitoring were made available on the massport.com website under the “Massport and the Environment” section.
In June of last year the MassDEP released the long awaited Logan Health study. The study, first ordered by Senator Anthony Petruccelli in 2000 through legislation he filed while still in the House of Representatives, found that as you get closer to Logan International Airport the incidents of childhood asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) was higher.
Among children, study results identified some respiratory effects indicative of undiagnosed asthma. Children in the high exposure area were estimated to have three to four times the likelihood of this outcome compared with children in the low exposure area. Among adult residents, individuals diagnosed with COPD were more likely to have lived in the high exposure area for three or more years. The study found no statistically significant differences in cardiovascular problems or hearing loss.
While working to address the health issues are all fine and good, AirInc., the neighborhood’s watchdog group that oversees mitigation for Logan impacts on the community, has said it wants Massport to start taking preventative measures as well.
AirInc. has said residents in impacted communities expect to see change; both in short term day to day operations at Logan as well as in the long term strategic planning now underway.
AirInc. has invited the Harvard School of Public Health, the State Department of Public Health, the City of Boston’s Department of Environment, Energy and Open Space, Massport, the State Department and Transportation and the local air quality scientific community to participate in the technical review process.