Radon Testing Program

In spring of 2008, detectable levels of radon, ranging from 1.2pCi/l to 16.5pCi/l were discovered in the ground floor level of Glatfelter Hall.  EPA guidelines recommend mitigation for spaces in which people live when levels of radon are 4 pCi/L or higher.  Although there is no legal standard for radon exposure, the College took action and engaged a radon testing and mitigation firm, Enviroquest,  to conduct the mitigation project.

In response to the Glatfelter findings and to assure healthy working and living conditions for our employees and students, President Riggs convened a committee and charged them the task of developing a campus-wide testing and mitigation program.  The committee includes the following members:  Rhonda Good, Regina Campo, William Shoemaker, James Biesecker, Victor Arcelus, and Patricia Lawson.

The committee, in consultation with Ray Johnson, CHP of Dade Moeller Associates developed a radon testing program that includes a testing protocol and a testing implementation strategy that will inform a mitigation process if necessary, and a corresponding communications plan to provide information about this program to the campus community.  In addition to working with Dr. Johnson, the committee contacted colleagues, Susan Dupre, University Health Physicist and Robert Ortego, Environmental Compliance Officer, Princeton University, and Mark Linsley, Associate Health Physicist, Penn State University, to review radon testing strategies and plans used at their respective institutions.

The Gettysburg plan includes: the testing protocol and a testing implementation strategy.  The testing protocol follows published EPA guidelines for Radon Measurement in Schools.  Specifically, areas to be tested are identified as spaces located below grade, spaces located over a crawl space and spaces that come into direct contact with the ground. The testing implementation strategy is based on the amount of time an individual spends in a designated space during their years enrolled as a student or employed as faculty/staff at the College. Calculations based on these criteria results in an implementation plan divided into the 3 testing phases:  phase 1- office space, phase 2 - bedrooms, and phase 3, public spaces. 

The design of the testing/mitigation plan covers a multi-year period allowing for multiple testing, analysis, and mitigation if necessary with testing taking place over the winter months.   Using this strategy, testing in phase 1 buildings began in the winter of 2008-09 and continued until completed in 2010-11. Testing in phase 2 buildings (residence halls) will begin in the winter of 2011-12.