The purpose of this communication is to provide a reminder of the preventative testing initiative and a specific update on results from the radon component of this work. As described in prior communications, the district has taken a proactive and systematic approach to preventative testing that exceeds regulatory requirements. The district earned a $26,000 grant through the Women for a Healthy Environment initiative “Lead in Water, Lead in Paint, and Radon Testing & Remediation” in October. By establishing a comprehensive baseline, the district can mitigate any areas of concern as an important effort to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff members.
In December, the district worked with Radon Detection & Control technicians to complete radon testing throughout the district. As you may know, radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell or taste. Radon gas is located in the ground and can seep up through the soil and enter buildings like homes, schools and workplaces undetected. Pennsylvania is generally noted for higher levels of radon gas than many parts of the country. We received the results of the radon testing last week.
With a total of more than 440 tests conducted, no concerns were noted at PRHS, PRMS, Richland or Wexford. There were slightly elevated levels noted in 12 spaces at Eden Hall and 32 spaces at Hance. Please note that the results do not indicate immediate risks. Given those levels, the testing company and Women for a Healthy Environment recommended meeting with companies who specialize in this area to discuss mitigation. Mr. Zang, PRSD Director of Facilities Management, has consulted with three companies with professional expertise in this area to determine appropriate action to address the concerns. The immediate next step involves collecting some additional short-term samples of those few spaces with elevated readings. The diagnostic tests provide us with the information needed to take action and reduce any risks that may come with long-term, cumulative exposure. Radon mitigation is the process to reduce concentrations and vent that underground gas above the building roof.
As a general reminder, preventative tests were conducted in the following areas: lead in water; lead in paint; indoor air quality; and radon. The maintenance department is already addressing the fixtures and faucets for the small number of lead-in-water samples that were elevated. Those sources will then be re-tested before use. When all preventative testing reports are ready, the topic of preventative testing will be placed on a school board agenda for public awareness and review. The summary reports and specific test results will also be placed on the website (i.e., lead in water, lead in paint, radon, and indoor air quality).
We appreciate the proactive work of our maintenance staff and the collaboration with Women for a Healthy Environment. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines and recommendations are also part of this work.