At last night’s Board of Education meeting, preliminary results of comprehensive Indoor Air Quality tests that were performed at Miller-Driscoll Elementary School in March were released. Overall the representatives who presented the report to officials said they found no problems with the indoor air quality at the school.
In introducing the environmental engineers who oversaw the testing, BoE chairman, Bruce Likly, read their credentials and called them “truly experts.” The two men, Erik Plimpton and Marty Lewis, were representing TRC, the company that was selected to perform a comprehensive IAQ assessment of Miller-Driscoll when questions were raised about the indoor air environment at the school. TRC conducted their testing last month.
Both men ran through the results and responded to detailed questioning from the board members, and basically gave the school a clean bill of of health.
In a seeming nod to making sure that critics would have little reason to question their credentials, both men listed their background and certifications: Plimpton, an engineer, certified hazardous materials manager and certified microbial consultant, spoke on radon and mentioned specifically that he holds certifications from the National Environmental Health Association and the CT Department of Health in the field of radon measurement testing; Lewis certified industrial hygienist, certified safety professional, and certified professional environmental auditor.
After describing the detailed sampling and testing procedures that were he said were followed per protocol March 18-21 for 117 sampling devices, Plimpton said, “None of them were above the EPA or CT Health Dept. guidance level, which is 4.0 pCi/L; in fact the highest detectable concentration we had was 1.6 pCi/L, so less than half.”
On questioning from the board, the consultants said they were confident that testing protocols were adhered to, and that nothing unusual occurred–the building was occupied and all windows were closed throughout the testing. Plimpton added that these results, on the heels of similar results reported by ATC/Cardno two weeks ago (which performed re-testing in February after their initial radon tests in November were found to have been performed inaccurately) could provide “reasonable assurance” that the school does not have a radon problem.
He also said that further testing would not be required for another five years, but given that renovations at the school appear likely, he would “strongly recommend testing once the renovations are complete.”
Lewis’ role was to look at microbial testing and airborne contaminants, including mold. In describing the sampling and testing of what he said was “the entire school…all the rooms accessible to the students and staff, over 120 locations.”
“Of those 120 locations, in the two days we were sampling there–again these are snapshots in time–what I saw and observed was a school in a very clean condition, being maintained properly. The parameters that we measured for all fell within the guidelines that we typically cite for indoor air quality,” Lewis told the Board.
Answering questions with regard to CO2 and air handlers, Lewis responded that, “everything we ran across was typical.”
He elaborated, based on confirming for the board that he “certainly has a professional basis. I follow the guidelines of ASHRAE, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, Air Conditioning Engineers. They recommend a delta or amount above background levels of outdoor air just for indoor circulation should be about 700 ppm higher. We try to target, in a school about that makeup in the air. It’s been adopted by EPA, CDC, NIOSH.”
Lewis said that the testing showed no high level spikes well out of acceptable ranges that would warrant further testing. In fact, he confirmed that CO2 levels in the school are “more than acceptable.”
With regard to mold, Lewis told the Board that, “On our investigations we did not see any problems.” He added that even when evidence of past water leakage was spotted, there was no evidence of mold. “At the time, it was dry, no evidence.”
Lewis did add, “I recommend you continue pursuing Tools For Schools.”
The total cost for this testing was $16,550 for IAQ, $5,040 for radon, according to the investigators.
The board members said that a summary report has been issued, and two comprehensive reports are still being finalized and will be delivered by next Tuesday, April 29. Likly said the reports would be added to the district website as soon as they are available.