ew library copes with toxic fumes

[bold on]Robert Koch[bold off][fm][bold on][bold off][bold on][bold off]Staff Reporter[fm]
Concerned about levels of hydrogen sulfide in an Elmer Andersen Library mechanical room, Facilities Management has sealed off the room, installed fans and is continuously monitoring gas levels.
“We’ve contained the gas to the secured room,” said Jennifer Schulz, a Facilities Management representative. “Nobody has been hurt by it.”
The toxic, egg-smelling gas entered the mechanical room in the library’s subterranean archives from contaminated ground water collected in the room’s gutter system, said Craig Moody, assistant director of the Department of Environmental Health and Safety. Potentially dangerous concentrations were first discovered last summer.
Since then, Facilities Management has limited access to the room to one worker at a time. Monitors installed in the room measure hydrogen sulfide levels and if the levels become unsafe, an alarm sounds and the worker is instructed to evacuate.
Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, flammable gas and “a fairly toxic compound,” when inhaled in large concentrations, Moody said. The gas present in the library is a by-product of bacterial breakdown.
Schulz said Facilities Management will continue to monitor the situation.
Meanwhile, they will debate a final solution to reduce hydrogen sulfide levels.
“We’re working on it. But, we haven’t solved the problem yet,” Schulz said.
[italic on]Todd Milbourn welcomes comments at [italic off][italic on][email protected][italic off]