|Police stations often suffer|
from poor IAQ, affecting the
officers' health and well-being.
“It blows my mind,” said Ken Vincent, chairman of the 12-member committee expected to come up with dollar figures on renovating the facility or building a new station. “It’s important for the committee to see this so we can ask the right questions when we go out to bid.”
The Russells Mills Road station has been closed for more than eight months after an officer became sick with Legionnaires' disease and the bacterium legionella was found in the hot water system.
Custodian David Saulnier said several old pipes that were blocked off during previous expansions allowed the bacteria to fester.
From corroded pipes in the boiler room to soggy boxes in the records room, Saulnier led a group of 14 through the building, identifying issues.
“Over the last three years, I kept getting new leaks in the new HVAC system that did not have some valves,” he said, pulling down drop ceiling tiles to expose dots of mold.
Pointing to a thick grey-green ooze on the floor of the locker room, Saulnier said he had no idea what it could be.
Select Board representative Stanley Mickelson, who recently replaced Lara Stone on the committee, had mixed reactions to the tour. “Discombobulating,” he said. “There’s so much to go through.”
As temperatures drop, the department continues to operate out of six trailers and portable toilets in the parking lot, a situation Traffic Officer Joseph Vieira said is “not ideal.” Representing the police union on the committee, he said the tour was “a great first step” but “long overdue.”
In the recent rains, water dripped through the dispatchers' trailer windows, said Donna Wunschel, also on the committee.
“It’s an indoor job. I don’t even have rain gear,” she said. “We are trying to deal with it the best we can.”
The town has purchased a modular station with plumbing and heat to replace the trailers. Town Administrator David Cressman said he expects it will be in place early January.
“Let’s hope for no snow until then,” Vieira said.
Source: South Coast Today
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