The District has proactively undertaken testing for radon gas in our schools and buildings over a 5 year period. This testing is a voluntary exercise to determine if any of the District’s facilities have elevated levels of radon present. This is done in keeping with Health Canada’s guidelines and recommendations.
Radon is a gas that forms naturally by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. It cannot be detected by the senses. It is colourless and odorless; however it can be identified with specialized monitoring devices.
Radon usually escapes from the ground into the outdoors where it mixes with fresh air resulting in levels too low to be concerning. However, when radon enters an enclosed space, such as a building, it can accumulate resulting in higher concentrations. This can become a health concern to the occupants of the building.
We have implemented Phase III of our testing at 35 schools this year, with 2 schools being re-tested from Phase II. Monitoring devices were placed in high occupied areas within the school including classrooms, main office and staff rooms. Testing took place for four (4) consecutive, winter months and adhered to Health Canada’s Guidelines.
The District has engaged the services of 3 environmental consulting firms, CM3, EHS Partnerships Ltd & Greenough Environmental (certified).
Health Canada recommends that remediation measures are put into place within 2 years for annual average radon levels in exceedance of 200 Bq/m3, and to have remediation actions within 1 year for levels in excess of 600 Bq/m3. For schools or buildings with radon concentrations in excess of the allowable limits, a building specific radon gas mitigation plan will be put into place and actioned, in order to meet the recommendations as set out by Health Canada.
If you have any questions or have further interests on the subject, information is available on the Health Canada’s website.
Attached is an electronic copy of the Districts Radon Assessment Program, Flow Chart and your individual schools report. Two (2) hard copies will be sent through internal mail to each school’s attention with one copy to be stored in the custodian’s DSR inventory binder and the second copy will be shared with the school by posting on the H&S board or the main office.