Friday, August 19, 2022

Waldport schools LCSD boiler investigation update


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EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an update from Lincoln County School District Superintendent Dr. Karen Gray regarding the ongoing investigation undertaken into foul odors at Crestview Heights Elementary School.

Dear, Waldport Community,

The following is your Monday update:

1. Mold Samples. Last week the district did additional sampling for molds. This time we included outside samples and more indoor samples. The first set of sample results revealed zero black molds and a light number of mold spores in the air (which were insignificant in value). In the second set of samples, the results came back exactly the same. There was no black mold in any of the samples and the spores that were captured were low in number. We don’t think mold is a problem at this time.

2. Inspections. Last Thursday and Friday, April 25 and 26, you may already be aware that OSHA and the Health Department were in Waldport schools checking the boilers and testing the school for as many toxic elements as they can within the scope of work they do. They did the testing with the boilers off and on from the point of ignition. We also had an insurance company representative, boiler inspector, and boiler inspection company, Proctor and Sales, here checking the boilers and the stacks, which are the boiler exhaust pipes that collect the boiler exhaust that brings exhaust up and out into the air from the boiler room. The stacks are what we are raising to a height of 8 feet with Groth Gates.

At this moment in time, OSHA could not find any existence of toxic elements in the school both boilers off and boilers on. They found nothing of concern in the air quality even when the boiler at CVH was first ignited. They still have computerized samples they need to analyze before giving us a final report hopefully this week. The stacks at the high school were well tuned and the stack at CVH was minimally adjusted because the boiler inspector said we should tune it slightly. I personally reviewed the readings they took in a meeting Friday afternoon and while the initial readings of the boiler stack at CVH was not as picture perfect as the stacks at the high school (the readings were still good readings), they got even better with the tuning. We have decided that we will be tuning up all of our stacks every month just so we can be extra careful. Normally, we tune-up twice a year. We have the rod that does this testing so we are going to do them on a more frequent basis.

Remember that the exhaust that comes up from the boiler goes up through the stack and into the air and is carried away by the wind. if the wind is blowing towards the building, you can smell diesel. Smelling diesel does not mean there is CO in what you are smelling.

Another thing I learned that people don’t know is that the air flow completely changes within CVH 4 times an hour. Not 4 times a day but 4 times an hour. In order to be exposed to CO, it has to be at at least 50 parts per million over 8 hours according to OSHA. Our detectors alarm at 30 PPM and the air changes 4 times an hour. None of our detectors alarmed Thursday or Friday. The ONLY reading for CO both days was at a level of .0012 which is 12 100ths of one percent or 12/100 of 1%. That’s how sensitive OSHA’s equipment is. Not even 1%.

In addition to having those I mentioned in attendance, CVH parents Chris Carlson on Thursday and Kyle Smallwood on Friday (both builders) were also witnessing this work. It was great to be partnering with our parents during this testing. They are leading the parent environmental study group for CVH.

3. Dahl’s Disposal and Lagoon theory. We found out that the City of Waldport’s lagoon is a mile and a half from the school and it holds waste that has been already processed. Dahl’s Disposal is heavily inspected by the DEQ. They are not a problem at this time.

4. Retests Monday. We have 12 folks willing to be retested for CO. The District will pay for the tests the balance of what costs are not already paid for by insurance so we can see results. We learned from the Oregon Poison Center that people make their own CO in their bodies and that kids can make more than adults due to their higher metabolisms. I also learned from ODE that urban cities (of course we are not urban) can have a reading 2.61 percent in the blood just from living there. A blood level under 5% is considered to be “not adverse to people’s health and not to require intervention”, according to Dr. Zane Horowitz the Medical Director of the Oregon Poison Center, Oregon Health Sciences University.

5. Parent Meeting May 14 set. We have set this meeting and will be getting out Save the Dates. The meeting will be from 5 pm to 6:30 pm at Seashore Family Literacy Center in Waldport. The Lincoln County Health Department and OSHA will be there to explain their independent testing results and we will have a professional facilitator leading this meeting. The meeting will share information about the test results and information about how our heating and ventilation system works. Then there will be time for parent and district and agency questions and answers. Food will be provided at 6:30 so please stay for food if you can.

Moving on and continuing our investigation.

Thank you very much,

Karen Gray


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