District Conducts Radon Testing at All Sites

Following board approval in August 2019, all Johnston Community School District sites are having radon testing conducted by Terracon as a proactive measure.

Radon testing at school sites has been discussed legislatively for several years, but has not passed to be legally required as there has not been any funding associated with the possible requirement. Radon testing is required for preschool age children and has been done each year at Johnston for rooms with preschool or after school daycare rooms.

Testing is the only way to determine whether or not the radon concentration in a school room is below the action level. Measuring levels of radon gas in schools is relatively easy and an inexpensive process compared to other important building upkeep activities. Each frequently occupied room that is in contact with the ground should be measured because adjacent rooms can have significantly different levels of radon. The EPA has published guidance that explains the basic elements of testing:

  • Test all frequently used rooms on and below the ground level;
  • Conduct tests in the cooler months of the year; and

Follow this school testing strategy:

  • Step 1: Initial testing – take short-term tests.
  • Step 2: Follow-up testing:
    • Take a second short-term test in rooms where the initial level is 4 pCi/L or higher.
    • Take a long-term test in these rooms for a better understanding of the school-year average radon level.
  • Step 3: Take action to reduce levels if the average of the initial and short-term follow-up test is 4 pCi/L or greater or the result of the long-term test is 4 pCi/L or greater.

As results become available for JCSD sites, results will be shared.