Working toward breathing easier

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By Amanda Arroway | News Editor

Consultant firm Forensic Analytical released its preliminary results regarding the strange odors inside the Math and Science building that reportedly made faculty and students ill.

President Cynthia Azari said in an email that the college received a preliminary report from the consultant. She also said the results are going to be posted on the college’s website.

“We are going to take the reports and look at the recommendations and based on that we will have to get estimates for the recommendation,” said Azari.

“Then we have to look at the resources we have and determine what we can do; we need to develop a plan to remedy the problems — that is my objective.”

The preliminary report regarding the air quality inside the building is based off a phone interview between Charlie Wyckoff, RCC’s interim vice president of Business Services, and Michelle Rosales of Forensic Analytical.

The report noted three primary issues identified by the faculty and staff interviews, including strange odors and swings in temperature.

The odors appeared to be entering the rooms through the drainage system.

The report said there needs to be an investigation to find out if trap primers were installed.

A trap primer is a plumbing device used to spray water into traps in the building’s plumbing.

When working correctly, a trap primer maintains a certain water level in the trap, which keeps odors from entering the rooms.

P2S Consulting Engineering and Commissioning is expected to conduct the investigation.

When the temperature of classrooms and offices in the Math and Science building were measured, some areas were found to be below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s code minimum of 68 degrees.

The current system inside the building cannot maintain 68 degrees when the temperature outside drops below 34 degrees.

The report suggests the solution should be adding another boiler and it concluded that the air handling unit system designed for the building “is not adequate to meet the heating needs of the building.”

The findings also indicate that the airflow to corridors seem to be inadequate, “creating a ‘stale’ smell, especially on the third floor.”

Uncovered ductwork that was not properly connected is another issue that was identified.

The report also said the air quality of the building was good.

President Azari said she does not want everyone to start blaming others for the problems, but she is disappointed that a new building is experiencing these issues.

She also encourages students to alert Health Services if they are experiencing any sickness from being inside the Math and Science building.

The preliminary results by Forensic Analytical can be accessed by clicking the ‘Consultant Reports’ link at

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