By David Esteppe
After over 15 months of action regarding the concern over the air quality inside of the Nick J. Rahall Technology and Business Center, the executive director of the Greenbrier Valley Economic Development Corporation (GVEDC) declares the final report on the situation to be that the formaldehyde levels are consistently safe.
The Rahall building housed the Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) for the Veterans Administration (VA), when concerns of air quality were raised by some employees of the facility. The HVAC system was repaired and firewalls reinforced in an effort to alleviate any odors within the clinic itself. Basically, the clinic was walled off from other businesses sharing the Rahall building.
After extensive work to address air quality, the building had reopened as the CBOC for veterans this past February. However, employees still reported ill effects associated with working in the space. Therefore, more testing was performed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and revealed a one one-thousandth part-per-billion formaldehyde level higher than what is within safety standards. The VA chose to close the facility in April.
GVEDC executive director Steve Weir says that, in response to the inconsistent finding of the higher formaldehyde level by NIOSH, Montrose Air Quality Services, LLC of Easton, PA, conducted another round of tests.
According to Weir, the results of Montrose’s testing confirmed earlier data collected by other environmental testing firms, and showed that all levels of formaldehyde in all areas tested were well below Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) standards as well as below the more stringent NIOSH safety standards.
Weir stated, “We have never been even close to exceeding OSHA standards, the building was safe last year, and it is safe this year.” After four rounds of testing concluding the air is safe, “Our report is final,” Weir said.
Over $150, 000 has been spent on this issue by the GVEDC and at present time, Weir says the VA has no intention of returning a CBOC to the Rahall building.
The Mountain Messenger reached out to the public relations office of the VA, but as of press time we do not have their response.