The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County has received preliminary results from environmental consultant Lawhon & Associates and some are still being analyzed. The recommendation of the consultant is that the library remain closed pending additional tests, according to Janet Loew, communications and public relations director for the system.
The library closed on Fri., Nov. 16, as a precaution as the smell in the area began to increase. The library immediately arranged to have recognized air quality consultant, Lawhon & Associates, Inc., from Columbus, evaluate the situation. Extensive air and water testing has been performed and is in the process of detailed analysis. Library officials say they know of no situation where anyone was harmed or became ill from being in the library branch prior to the closing.
Lawhon & Associates recommendation to remain closed is based on a sample taken from the elevator pit showing a level of hydrogen sulfide that could cause problems. The elevator pit is a small enclosed space below the elevator, where the air is confined area. The elevator has been sealed off and ventilated.
Lawhon & Associations summary report notes, "The likely source of the odor is the water in the elevator sump pit. The sump pit may be serving as a conduit for contamination in shallow ground water to enter the indoor environment."
"The safety of our staff and patrons is our primary concern," said Library Director Heidi M. Daniel. "In remaining proactive, the library has contacted the OHIO EPA, Mahoning County Board of Health and the Mahoning-Trumbull County Air Pollution Control Agency - M-TAPCA."
Further testing is being done, but officials say the Library is unaware of any test results showing that the Poland Library is the source of the problem.
The library will be promptly reopened as soon as health and safety experts indicate to the system officials that the Poland branch can be reopened without unusual risk to the public and library staff.
The Library said it was advised that there should be no jeopardy to health from dropping off books in the book drop off the parking lot, but visitors should not get near catch basins or contact the water in the catch basins, out of precautions. The library is installing a barrier around the catch basins.