Radon Management

how radon enters a house

Radon Management Program


RADON: What is it and how does it affect Douglas County School District?

Radon has been around for many years and has been recognized by the EPA as a potential hazard since 1984. Radon is a naturally occurring gas. It comes from the breakdown of uranium, which is a natural part of soil and rock. Radon may seep in through cracks and pores in the foundation of a building or facility built on radon-contaminated soil. You can't see, taste, or smell radon. In fact, the only way to discover if high levels of radon are present is through testing. Radon can only cause health issues after years of prolonged exposure.

Radon may be radioactive, but it gives off very little actual gamma radiation. As a result, harmful effects from exposure to radon radiation without actual contact with radon compounds are not likely to occur. Breathing radon does not cause any short-term health effects such as shortness of breath, coughing, headaches, or fever.

Radon is measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L), a form of measurement for radioactive breakdown. The EPA recommends that every residential household and school facility be tested with a desired outcome of less then 4 pCi/L. If the testing shows an exceedance of 4 pCi/L mitigation is recommended. Mitigation efforts can greatly reduce levels of radon in school environments either by preventing it from entering buildings or by venting it out. The most common and usually most effective technique to mitigate radon is through sub-slab depressurization, which involves venting air from beneath the foundation. This is done through a licensed radon mitigation contractor.

DCSD Radon Management Program

Douglas County School District takes Radon testing and mitigation very seriously. The radon program for DCSD is primarily a maintenance phased program. All sites have been tested and/or mitigated and passed with a level below 4 pCi/L. When new sites or when additional square footage is added to a site (such as an addition) DCSD will utilize its radon testing strategy to accomplish radon sampling. Douglas County School District’s radon consulting firm recommends that testing of district buildings should occur following a period of building settlement and ventilation system equilibrium. Evidence has shown that testing a brand new building may result in inaccurate levels. District protocol, as recommended by our radon consultants, is to wait a minimum of 12 months prior to testing to allow for system and building equilibrium.

DCSD’s Radon Testing Strategy:

Douglas County School District conducts testing for radon by placing radon sampling canisters in every lower level occupied space within a building. The radon sampling canister contains a charcoal medium which absorbs present radon and holds it for analysis at an accredited laboratory. These canisters, about the size of a hockey puck, are placed upon cabinets and bookshelves, usually in an inconspicuous location and usually out of site of students. This placement limits disruption of the canister during the sampling period. The sampling period is a minimum of 48 hours (2 Days) and a maximum of 96 (4 Days). The canisters are then retrieved, packaged and sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis. Results are available within 10 to 14 days.

Step 1: Initial Testing:

Place Short-term test canisters. (Our short term tests measure a 48 hour period).

If the results show all rooms have passed, then an overall results letter is generated for the school and specific results are kept on file for review.

If, however, we have any levels that exceed the 4 pCi/L recommendation level, DCSD will take initial steps to mitigate these elevated levels. Steps may include ventilation, sealing, and HVAC changes. After proper steps have been taken, follow-up testing occurs.

Step 2: Follow-up Testing:

Place a second short-term test canister in rooms where the initial level is 4 pCi/L or higher.

If the levels previously exceeding 4 pCi/L are now below the standard level, generate an overall results letter for the school and maintain specific results for review.

If the follow-up testing results continue to exceed 4 pCi/L, DCSD will consider:
-Taking additional steps to lessen the levels such as ventilation and HVAC changes.
-Placing long-term test canisters in these rooms for a better understanding of the school-year average radon level.
-Removing the staff and/or students from the exposed room until levels can be dropped.
-Contract with an outside radon mitigation company to determine next actions.

Step 3: Conduct Tertiary Follow-up Testing:

Repeat steps 1 & 2 as needed.

Radon Mitigation Projects

Currently, Douglas County School District does not have any ongoing radon mitigation projects.

Radon Testing Results

 All sites have been previously tested and/or mitigated and passed with a level below 4 pCi/L. If you would like more information regarding your specific schools radon testing results please contact Zach Nannestad, Environmental Health Manager at (303) 387-0467. 

Re-Sampling Project

Douglas County School District is starting a re-sampling project to resample the entire district over the next five years. As results become available they will be posted below. The sampling strategy is to sample the oldest sites first and work our way up to newer sites. 

Radon Management Resources

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Environmental Protection Agency

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In compliance with Titles VI & VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008, and Colorado law, the Douglas County School District RE-1 does not unlawfully discriminate against otherwise qualified students, employees, applicants for employment, or members of the public on the basis of disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry, or need for special education services. Discrimination against employees and applicants for employment based on age, genetic information, and conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth is also prohibited in accordance with state and/or federal law. Complaint procedures have been established for students, parents, employees, and members of the public. The School District’s Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator to address complaints alleging sexual harassment under Title IX is Ted Knight, Assistant Superintendent, 620 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock, Colorado, complianceofficer@dcsdk12.org, 303-387-0067. Complaints regarding violations of Title VI, (race, national origin), Title IX (sex, gender), Section 504/ADA (handicap or disability), may be filed directly with the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite 310, Denver, CO 80204. Complaints regarding violations of Title VII (employment) and the ADEA (prohibiting age discrimination in employment) may be filed directly with the Federal Office of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 303 E. 17th Ave., Suite 510, Denver, CO 80202, or the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1050, Denver, CO 80202.