DEQ Building Shutdown in Helena - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

DEQ Building Shutdown in Helena

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In Helena today, some employees from the Department of Environmental Quality were sent home on paid leave. This was all due to the shutdown of one of their buildings which has turned out to be contaminated with high amounts of lead.

The Department of Environmental Quality shutdown the Helena office on the corner of Last Chance Gulch and Lyndayle due to hazardous air conditions. Results came in last Friday from testing done earlier this month on dust they had done above ceiling tiles in the building. The tests came back with a concentration of lead in the dust, and high enough to continue testing to find out if employees were breathing in the contaminated air.

D.E.Q. Director Tracy Stone-Manning said "So we did some additional dust sampling in the workplace itself, we expect those results later this week, but out of an abundance of caution we decided that we would close the building temporarily until we learned those results and more importantly until that, those high levels of lead above the ceiling were cleaned up."

The testing initially took place from concerns of employees about the health of the building. During last spring the D.E.Q. kicked off a comprehensive analysis plan which included a look at the building and its previous sampling, and then continued with new recent samples this October and these were the first results from the tests. Some of the 100 employees that worked at the building complained of itchiness of skin, head aches, and fatigue. Employees are in the process of being tested as well.

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