Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2009 09:09:26 -0400
Reply-To: "Lazarski, Peter M." <Peter.Lazarski**At_Symbol_Here**US.NGRID.COM>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: "Lazarski, Peter M." <Peter.Lazarski**At_Symbol_Here**US.NGRID.COM>
Subject: Re: Has anybody ever had this happen before?
Comments: To: David Roberts
In-Reply-To: A<49BEC7BA02000009000CF857**At_Symbol_Here**>

I'd suggest checking exhaust of hood monthly, maybe quarter
ly, with a
smoke candle. When you do, be certain to alert both your fac
ilities and
security groups. You don't want them thinking the building 
has been set
on fire and calling the fire dept (I speak from experience

You can get the candle at safety supply houses. They come in 
sizes & burn for varying lengths of time.

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Peter Lazarski 
Nationalgrid USA
Chemical Laboratory, Bldg. 1 
7437 Henry Clay Blvd. 
ool, NY 13088 

Phone: (315) 460-2114
Fax: (315) 460-857

Email: peter.lazarski**At_Symbol_Here**

-----Original Mes
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] O
n Behalf Of
David Roberts
Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009 9:42 P
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Has anybody ever had
 this happen before?

Hello all,

We recently did a majo
r renovation of our science facilities (5-6 years
ago maybe now - it's 
all a blur and something I'd like to forget).  In
any event, our new fa
cilities are wonderful (given the size of our
school) and we are very p
leased with things.  But (you knew a but was
coming), we had an odd sit
uation recently that I will try to explain.

The chemistry floor i
s the top floor, occupying about 1/2 of the 3rd
floor in our building. 
 Our building was built in phases, as we lived in
it during the constru
ction phase.  All of the chemistry air is vented
out of the building, n
o recirculation at all (which is wasteful from a
heating/cooling perspe
ctive but necessary for obvious reasons).  Prior
to this event, we forg
ot that the air paths run side by side, in an
attempt to steal heat (in
 the winter) from room air and give it to
incoming air as the exhaust a
ir is leaving (energy saving - works the
opposite in the summer)

Anyway, a few weeks back we were running an organic lab and the
stunk really bad, and it seemed to be worse on the south end of 
building, and really it seemed to be coming in the incoming air ven
We didn't think this was possible, so we attributed it to bad stude
technique taking their samples all over the place.  Come to find out
one of the air handlers (things were still working mind you, we hav
several of these I believe) had come off it's shaft, a bolt or tw
broke, and it torqued inside the cage, causing a buckle in the pane
that separates the exhaust air from the incoming air.  As a result, t
air streams were mixing, and we were in fact breathing in exhausted 
air.  Note that this is not a situation where our exhaust vents ar
located near our intake vents (I have heard lots of issues on that on
we don't have that case at all nor can that happen in our situation 
which was what made this a puzzling thing to find as things seemed to

We have since done a temp. fix on this waiting 
for parts, smelly toxic
labs have stopped in the south end of our build
ing, and we are in the
process of fixing it.  We were diligent and thin
gs were discovered
quickly, so there was little exposure, but we did ha
ve an annoying day
or two.

In any event, now for the questio
n.  Has this ever happened to anybody?
Does anybody know of a test that
 one can run to be sure something like
this (as rare as it may be) isn'
t going on prior to doing a lab that
really smells and can cause issues
?  It seems to me that this probably
has happened elsewhere, as the des
ign is not that absurd, though I truly
don't know.  A simple smoke test
 or a test using ammonia and/or vinegar
would seem to me to be enough t
o know if something is wrong or not.

Any ideas on how we can test
 this before the canary dies?



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