Knox County Makes Plan to Solve Courthouse Radon Problem - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Knox County Makes Plan to Solve Courthouse Radon Problem

Updated: July 9, 2013 11:38 PM
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Knox county officials now have a plan in place on how to fix the high radon levels at the county courthouse. Officials said the dangerous gas has been a problem at the courthouse for more than a decade and has only been getting worse.

A report released in June found radon levels in the courthouse to be dangerous, according to EPA standards. The radon level in one of the areas in the basement even registered at more than 15 times the level the EPA considers dangerous.

Since learning of the issue, the county board has been working on coming up with a solution to the problem. Officials made a breakthrough at Tuesday evening's building committee meeting when they met with the contractor who would install a radon mitigation system. Rob Benedict, owner of Mechanical Services of Galesburg and Peoria, said he could install a commercial-grade mitigation system for anywhere between $87,000 and $95,000. The committee members said they chose Benedict because he gave the best price they could find and his price included follow up radon level tests.

Benedict said installing the mitigation system along with the new heating and air conditioning system the county has been planning to install would give the county the "best of both worlds" in solving the courthouse's radon problem.    

Knox County Sheriff David Clague said he was happy with the plan the committee sent into place Tuesday night.

"I think the Knox County Building Committee took a giant step forward," Clague said. "For once we have a plan in place – one to ensure the safety of the employees."

The committee said the Knox County Board currently doesn't have enough money for all the courthouse improvement projects in the designated fund. To remedy that, the committee drew up a plan to borrow money from the county landfill fun. It would then have one year to pay that money back into the landfill fund.

These plans now all go to the Knox County Board for final approval. Clague said he expects them to approve the plans at that meeting.