Air quality in McCreless, Gonzales unresolved

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Director says it could take weeks for results

By Ty-Eshia Johnson

Mike Legg, director of enterprise risk management, said his department is waiting for the results from samples taken in both Gonzales and McCreless halls and will speak with the staff about the results once they come in.

“Both McCreless and Gonzales have two active cases where we’re kind of investigating and doing some surveying and so forth, to determine what’s going on with those buildings,” Legg said.

“That’s obviously why we want to do the survey and testing,” he said. “We had an industrial hygienist come in and do the testing for us,” he said.

Legg hopes to see results within a week, but said there could be a three- to four-week turnaround.

“That’ll give us a general idea of what we’re looking at like do we have any active mold growth or anything of that nature?” he said. “We actually did a fairly expensive survey for all kinds of different things.”

When the department receives a complaint about air quality or mold growth in a facility, someone — typically Roy Brown — will do a visual assessment of the suspected area, Legg said.

“I think the thing that piques most people’s interest is mold, and for mold to grow, we need to have moisture,” he said. “So typically, we’re looking for any kind of moisture penetration or moisture buildup in those facilities.”

Legg said issues with mold are common and easy to see.

“The first step we typically take is just a visual assessment by our department,” he said.

Legg said if they determine that there is enough information or uncertainty about the cause, they have a certified industrial hygienist come and take samples.

“We’ll also make sure that we’re not pulling too much outside air into the facilities so we’re not getting a higher level of allergens,” he said.

Usually, the standard ratio for airflow is an 80/20 mix, which is 20 percent outside air mixed with 80 percent of internal air, Legg said.

“I think in McCreless, one of the complaints was about some black stuff coming out of a vent,” he said. “We tested that material with a tape sampling to make sure it’s not a specific mold or anything that would be relatively a concern for us to have in the vent system.”

The sampling assessment is a quick process but getting the results takes longer because the samples must be sent to a lab, he said.

“They’ll do the scientific review of that data, and will return that report to us based on the findings and then offer his level of recommendation,” Legg said.

Where the samples go for testing is up to the certified industrial hygienist Ron Bishop, who sends them to an independent certified laboratory out of state.


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