MANTORVILLE, Minn. (KTTC)--A test for Radon at the Dodge County Courthouse revealed high levels of the dangerous gas. Seven of the rooms tested above the recommended 4 pCi/L.
"I think it's very similar to a lot of places in the state," said Dodge County Emergency Management Director, Matt Maas. "Depending on the statistics you look at and where you get your data from--up to 40% of the homes and the businesses have a radon issue. It's something that's very similar across the area right now."
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the decomposition of uranium in the soil produces the radioactive gas. The gas moves up through the soil and into buildings through cracks and openings in the foundation. Studies have shown long-term exposure to high levels of radon can cause lung cancer.
"It's not just one square room that we have to deal with. Lots of interior walls and ventilation systems are pretty unique to buildings of this nature," said Maas. "We have to work with the engineering firm and look at our exact building layout and figure out what the best method of mitigating it is."
The project will mean a change to the ventilation system in the courthouse or pressurizing the soil underneath the building to lower the levels. Once the system is in place, radon levels will be closely monitored.
"Annual testing for radon gas is something we'll continue to do to make sure that the radon gas mitigation techniques stay and continues to work like we want it to," said Maas.
The courthouse annex was also tested, but levels in the newer part of the building tested below the EPA's guidelines and do not pose a risk for employees.
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