Following 10/11 NOW Investigation, LPS launches radon testing initiative

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -- In August of 2018, 10/11 requested documents regarding the most recent radon tests for every school in the Lincoln Public Schools district. We wanted to check the last time each of LPS’s 61 schools was tested.

We learned, twelve schools in the district had no record of ever being tested. Nineteen other schools hadn’t been tested in at least 25 years.

When asked about this, the district said it randomly tests five to eight schools a year. If this were the case, on average, every school would be tested about once every 8-to-12 years.

Read the full 1011 report here.

On May 2, nearly 9 months after 10/11's investigation, LPS released an update on radon testing. The district said, "LPS has completed radon tests at 36 buildings so far this school year."

An email from the district went on to say, "LPS has plans to test 17 additional buildings by the end of 2019, and has a timeline to reach all schools in the district in a timely manner. "

Cavett Elementary School was among the schools with no record of ever being tested. The following email was sent to parents of Cavett Elementary Students on Thursday:

Dear Cavett School families:

Last fall the topic of testing for radon gas in our schools came up in our community. We would like to offer you an update on what we have accomplished since the beginning of the school year, some background on our procedures and plans for the future.

LPS manages the air quality in our schools through the heating, fresh air ventilation, and air conditioning systems. These systems manage several factors; for example, air temperature, fresh air volume, and carbon dioxide levels. LPS has completed radon tests at 36 buildings so far this school year. Testing and follow up mitigation measures in LPS are aligned with best practices recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

In every circumstance of a reading at or above 4.0 pCi/L, our team seeks to find the cause and makes necessary modifications. This work includes additional testing and mitigation measures including modifications to the building structures and/or heating, fresh air ventilation, and air conditioning systems when necessary. LPS has plans to test 17 additional buildings by the end of 2019, and has a timeline to reach all schools in the district in a timely manner.

If you have questions about the radon in schools, information is available on the LPS website at https://home.lps.org/operations/radon