WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Progress report on Waldport Schools’ boiler/heating carbon monoxide problem

 

Boiler problems at Crestview Elementary School – forced evacuations, February 2019
Submitted photo

1. Community Meeting.  On Tuesday night, May 14th, at 5 pm at the Seashore Family Literacy Center, we had a community meeting in which Oregon OSHA, Lincoln County Public Health, Proctor and Sales (boiler person), the Lincoln City School District and Parent Group shared results of testing and work moving forward. The results are that there were insignificant levels of carbon monoxide being put out by the boiler on or off and the other elements tested for were the same.

The Lincoln County Health Department shared how many other ways in which people could be exposed to CO and what that meant. We learned that people’s bodies produce CO on their own and that there is ambient CO in our air. A Health Department Toxicologist told us that according to the Center for Disease Control that a confirmed case of CO exposure was above 5%. That’s the same information we read and also the same range as the Oregon Poison Control Center. People asked questions and the panel stayed after to answer more questions. The meeting was facilitated by Kira Higgs and was productive. Three people (two that attended the community meeting and one that did not) shared their complaints with the board afterward at the board meeting held at CVH.

2. Parent Group. The Parent Group also shared their work at the Community Meeting and the new G2 study they have independently commissioned. Hopefully, they will get results of their study before school gets out. It starts on May 24 and goes through May 29. The District had gifted the group $5000 for the study and increased that amount to $8700 in order to try to meet the specs of the new study. The environmental engineering company G2 out of Lake Oswego was selected by the Group and they will be testing for 5 days, two of those days with the boiler on over the weekend. The District is working with the group to make sure that the boiler gets on and off well.

3. Boiler. According to Greg English, the boiler expert from Proctor and Sales, who was on the meeting panel, “The boilers at the high school and Crestview Heights are no different than hundreds of other boilers burning oil throughout the State of Oregon.  They commonly operate in schools, hospitals, commercial buildings and processing facilities. All of the safety controls that are required by building codes in the State of Oregon for hot water boilers exist on all three boilers and all are fully operational. The boilers are completely safe and meet all the current code requirements in the State of Oregon.

Speculation about the boiler maintenance records was raised and this is how I would answer that: The maintenance department is required by law to have certain State required inspections and to post and keep state law required certificates on the boilers. These have been maintained for many years. They only have records of fixing the boilers when the boilers need fixing. We don’t keep regular maintenance records on any other machines we use and don’t have special records for boiler maintenance. We keep the work orders when we need to fix them. We have maintained all the records on the CVH/WHS boilers since the Jan 26 incident. We have a running record, as Tim Kaufman said at the meeting. We will now be tuning the exhaust stacks monthly with a machine we own and changing the filters monthly as well, keeping a running record of this maintenance.”

4. Meeting with Samaritan Hospital. The Superintendent, Student Support Services Director and Secondary Teaching and Learning Administrator attended a meeting with the Samaritan Hospital CEO on Tuesday, May 14. I have asked the CEO to provide information for the district to send to our District officials and parents from that meeting, so I can share it with everyone. We ended our meeting by promising each other to become better partners in communicating. I was very encouraged. More to come soon.

Next are the results from the Parent Group study that the district will review carefully. We will have completed five studies (PBS, SAIF, OSHA, Health Department, and G2, plus Fire Department) and will have done all we can do to find anything wrong with our boilers and school environment. Should there be negative results from the G2 study, the parents will share that with us and we will address any recommended actions and keep everyone posted. We are grateful to the Parent Group for their hard work and diligence.

Thank you very much,

Doctor Karen Gray,
Superintendent of Schools

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