Group says asphalt plant creates health problems - KCTV5

Lawsuit filed after group says asphalt plant creates health problems

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Concern over a south Kansas City asphalt plant is enough of a worry that a lawsuit has been filed.

Neighbors can hear the trucks rumbling by the Ideker asphalt plant along Highway 150 near Interstate 49, but it is the smell that's bothering others.

"Like burning tires," said Kathy Sutoris, who wonders what she is breathing in along with that smell.

Sutoris started the nonprofit Concerned Citizens for Air Impact Reduction.

"It is the citizens, it is our children, it is our families that are affected. We live here," Sutoris said.

Even though the plant is on Kansas City land, it is bordered by Grandview on two sides with housing and an elementary school pretty close by.

"Based upon the prevailing winds that are out here, the emissions from the asphalt plant blow right over the schools," Director of Public Works Dennis Randoph said. "While it doesn't necessarily make them sick right now, the potential of it building up and causing problems for the rest of their lives is a concern to us."

The city of Grandview hired an environmental expert who says the plant's emissions go beyond what the Environmental Protection Agency allows.

Grandview leaders believe the process that granted the plant a temporary operating permit was done wrong.

"The amount of emissions that had been predicted for the plant. We think the initial assumptions that were made for the temporary earlier permit were too low," Randoph said.

Now the plant is looking for a permanent permit to keep running while Grandview and Sutoris' citizens group are suing the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to keep them from issuing the permit.

"I would not want to drive them out of business. I mean, building the new interstate here is very important, also for economic growth.  But there has to be a solution the problem, and I would like them to work with us," Sutoris said.

Managers at Ideker's headquarters in St. Joseph did not return KCTV5's calls for comment, though a plant manager in Kansas City said they do everything by the book.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources was closed Monday for the holiday.

The next step is a hearing this week to look into a temporary restraining order against any new permits. Until it is clear, the plant is meeting all EPA standards.

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