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Radon reading in Middle College basement triggers quick, ongoing response

April 6, 2014

On Friday morning, three admissions staff members and a mailing operation were relocated from the Middle College basement after a test of the environment returned an initial radon reading. While a second follow-up test is being conducted, staff were relocated and the college's facilities team sprang into action, moving computer and desk equipment out of the space and then building and setting in motion a plan to test similar office and classroom environments across campus.

"In the coming days, we will begin testing radon levels in spaces located on the bottom floors of the World Affairs Center, Morse-Ingersoll, Campbell, Smith, Eaton Chapel, South College, 609 and 619 College, the Alumni House, and any other similar, occupied basement spaces," Tom Viel, director of physical plant said in an email to affected staff and faculty on Friday afternoon. "We will share the results with you once the tests are completed, which may take approximately 3-4 weeks."

"We want to test your areas as soon as possible and, we hope, give you peace of mind about their condition," he wrote. As of late Friday, the facilities and operations staff was still identifying a partner to oversee the campus survey and referencing guidance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on how best to conduct this testing. They were also making contact with multiple Beloit faculty, vendors, and others to learn more about radon and testing protocol.Among those consulted and offering assistance was a member of the University of Kentucky's Environmental Health And Safety Division. They have an online fact sheet (see it here) that offers some useful information on radon and that division’s work to test and address issues on its Lexington, KY campus.

Stay tuned for more on this in the Terrarium.