BEND, OR -- After two weeks closed, the Deschutes County Health Services main building on NE Courtney reopens Monday. County Administrator Tom Anderson says they've been conducting extensive air quality testing to find the source of inconsistent Carbon Monoxide readings. He believes the problem came from exhaust fumes from the HVAC units on the building's roof, "Particularly in cold weather, because the HVAC units are close together, exhaust from one system could make its way into the air intake in a close-by system."
Anderson tells KBND News, "It's not like there's massive fumes entering this building. It's very, very low levels; but you want it perfect. You want those levels to be virtually nonexistent to ensure the safety of staff and clients." Thus, the extended closure, " The safety of our staff and clients is of paramount importance. So, we don't want to reopen the building until the staff and clients are coming back into a very safe and clean building."
While the building isn't particularly old, he says the rooftop heating system is unique, which will be corrected later this year, "We have moved up the capital replacement system. We fully intend to get that done this summer, during the warm months, so that when winter rolls around, we have a brand new and modern, effective heating system."
The building was first closed for several days in early March after employees reported a strong odor of natural gas. Anderson believes it was the same problem that led to this month's closure, but record snowfall blocking vents may have caused a stronger smell.