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Library investigation continues

December 20, 2012
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

Work continues on the Poland branch of the Public Library. The latest contract will reveal a more permanent solution to the odor in the elevator shaft, so it can be reopened.

The library worked with Lawhon and Associates, Inc., from Columbus in November to locate the cause of an odor inside the library. That company tested water and air samples, reviewed results, and provided information on those results to the library. The original contract was for $29,000, which included all the testing. That testing identified the presence of hydrogen sulfide in the air in the elevator pit, a confined area below the elevator. Lawhon & Associates' 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 Poland branch remained closed to the public as the elevator was taken out of service, was sealed and was independently ventilated. Lawhon then tested the air quality within the library again.

"The library received an opinion from Lawhon that the Poland branch could be reopened contingent upon the elevator containment system remaining in place for the time being," said Janet Loew, public relations director.

The branch was opened Dec. 7 with the elevator remaining out of service. It was sealed tightly and ventilated separately while work on the problem continues.

In looking for a long-term solution, the library has entered into a second contract for $15,000 with Lawhon. The company will be working with agencies such as the Ohio EPA and Mahoning County Board of Health to assess the situation and offer a more permanent solution that will allow for the elevator to reopen.

"The safety of our staff and patrons is our primary concern," said Library Director Heidi M. Daniel.



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