Possible air quality remedy completed for UW-Extension workplace

The Oneida County UW-Extension office, located downstairs at the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport, for years has been dealing with employee complaints about diesel exhaust fumes in the workplace. A project intended to improve the air quality has been completed. Star Journal file photo

Project intended to prevent fumes from entering airport basement



Work was completed last week on a project to address complaints about fumes in the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport basement, where the county’s University of Wisconsin-Extension office is located, said airport director Joe Brauer.

“We believe it’s helped quite a bit,” said Brauer, who noted the bid for all three phases of the project came in at $19,000 with the airport and the county each agreeing to cover half the cost.

Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport director Joe Brauer points out an air filtering system for the HVAC ducts installed to prevent diesel fumes from entering the basement where the UW-Extension office is located. Photo by Kevin Boneske

For years, there has been an issue with how to handle situations when some UW-Extension staff members reported they were not able to work in the airport basement when they noticed the presence of fumes from diesel exhaust, which has been more prevalent during the winter months.

Diesel exhaust was confirmed in the airport basement, during time periods when a jet aircraft was on the ramp or baggage was being unloaded, in an “industrial hygiene survey” completed in February 2016 by Sharon Bessa of Bessa and Associates and Daniel Karamanski of the UW-Extension.

However, that survey also found the various emissions detected that could be related to diesel exhaust, such as nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide, did not exceed allowable federal limits for the workplace.

The county Conservation and UW-Extension Education Committee last…

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