PRNDI Enterprise Work: The Dustbowl By The School | St. Louis Public Radio

PRNDI Enterprise Work: The Dustbowl By The School

Feb 25, 2019

A parent brought her concerns about the construction work and piling of debris next to her children’s school to St. Louis Public Radio. Her daughter has asthma that flared up during the work. After speaking with other parents, I learned several parents and teachers shared teh concerns and that the health problems more widespread. Students were missing school and developing asthma. Teachers also complained of difficulty breathing and of the dirty air around the school. I interviewed a dozen parents, volunteers and staff at the school. Through those interviews and an open-records request, I learned health problems at the school had spiked and no oversight and environmental monitoring took place. I also discovered the city’s economic development arm attempted to misguide the media on the depth of the health problems. The agency had consented to illegally dumping the debris by its own contractor on privately owned vacant land. Following the publication of my reporting, more parents and staff reached out to me saying they also had health impacts from the dust and debris. Eventually, because of our reporting, plans for the site were altered and the rubble was removed. In this audio clip, you'll hear three feature stories I did on the problem followed by the spot news reporting the resolution.