Radon Identification and Mitigation

Blue Ridge Elementary School, Walla Walla School District, Walla Walla, Washington

Fulcrum’s investigation began with a common building occupant concern of poor indoor air quality. Following a method developed by Fulcrum, we completed review of the building construction, interviewed maintenance personnel, and completed an assessment of basic and specific measures of indoor air quality.

As a result of project scoping, air and bulk samples were obtained and analyzed for temperature, relative humidity, carbon dioxide, airborne fiber, airborne particulates, mold spores, other airborne particulates and radon. Fulcrum assessed individual work spaces and classroom areas for sources of malodors and chemicals, including cleaners, personal hygiene care, air fresheners, and hand sanitizers; office equipment including printers and copy machines; and classroom and office products, dry erase boards, markers, white out, etc. 

Assessment of temperature, relative humidity, and carbon dioxide confirmed adequate HVAC system function.  

Laboratory results identified all fungal spore concentrations consistent with normal variations in fungal ecology.  Laboratory analysis for other particulates identified cotton and epithelial skin cells within the interior of the building at concentrations greater than exterior background.  Elevated concentrations of cotton particles and epithelial skin cells are expected to exceed exterior concentrations within an occupied building. Airborne concentrations of fiberglass and insect parts were not suggestive of a pervasive concern within the building.

Radon concentrations were monitored from seven areas during two initial monitoring periods. Locations were selected to represent the most likely route for potential radon gas infiltration. All areas were occupied at the time of monitoring. Radon levels were identified above the EPA benchmark. In an attempt to mitigate the radon from the building the School District adjusted the HVAC system to operate for a fourteen hour cycle.

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