Lincoln Public Schools Continue to Increase Radon Testing

LINCOLN, Nebraska (Nebraska) – Each year, a radon tester places hundreds of small cardboard envelopes around Lincoln Public School buildings. Inside is essentially a carbon-filled tea bag with one task.

“It lets air in and out, made up of all these tiny grains of carbon that pick up radon from the air,” said Steven Sikuro, a certified radon meter.

Because every school needs tests throughout the building, the school district administers 1,100 to 1,500 tests a year, totaling up to $37,500.

Scott Wiskamp, ​​COO of LPS, said it was worth the money and effort to test because radon can cause cancer when too much is in the air.

“It’s important for health,” Wiskamp said. “You know, more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths every year are attributable to non-smokers. So it’s people who don’t smoke getting lung cancer and a lot of that is due to radon… So it’s important to keep our students and our staff healthy.”

In Nebraska, this is even more critical.

“We have soil rich in uranium in Nebraska,” said Ellen Zoeller, program manager for DHHS Radon and Indoor Air. “So when uranium decays, it releases soil gas, and radon can linger in homes and basements.”

Radon is measured in picocuries per litre, the EPA has stated that the health risk is low at levels below 4.0 pci/L.

10/11 received all of the most recent test results for Lincoln Public Schools and learned after the 2018 10/11 2018 investigation of radon testing in the district that all schools have been tested in the last five years and future tests are planned.

Of the results for 63 buildings, 45 rooms had radon levels too low to measure. 15 had levels above 3.0, and three schools had readings at or close to 4.0 pci/l.

LPS policy is to pass the second test if the first is at or close to 4.0. They then take the average of those two to get the final result. If the first test or average is above 4.0, mitigation measures will begin.

“In terms of checking those rooms where the results are high for maybe cracks in the floor or maybe a pipe run from the tunnel below that needs to be sealed, we make sure the ventilation system is working properly because it’s really fresh.” air and ventilation in space to eliminate radon,” Wiskamp said.

All three schools with levels hovering around the EPA limit had follow-up scores below 4.0, which are in line with both LPS policy and EPA standards.

Wiskamp said the area as a whole has been lucky when it comes to radon levels, thanks to wide-ranging upgrades to the area’s ventilation systems.

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