The Cass County Board of Supervisors today (Friday) approved a contract with SWIPCO (the Southwest Iowa Planning Council), to provide and perform necessary services to carry out formal adoption of the local Hazard Mitigation Plan for rural Cass County and the eight cities located within the County. Action on the matter was postponed last week because there were some changes and conditions to the contract that needed to be made. The total cost of the project is $53,000, with the County’s in-kind share amounting to $7,950.
The Supervisors however tabled approval of the regulations for “Radon Control Methods,” which were passed and adopted earlier this week by the Cass County Board of Health. The Supervisors wanted more time to review the regulations and are expected to act on approving them during their meeting on Feb. 6th.
Supervisor Gaylord Schelling, who is the Board’s representative on the County Board of Health, said there really isn’t a radon problem in Cass County, but there is in other parts of the State. Testing for radon is required prior to the sale of homes. Supervisor Duane McFadden had the test done when he sold his home. He said it cost about $1,700-to $1,800, which was covered the installation of equipment and the test itself.
The equipment remains in the house, usually in the basement, and serves as a precautionary means to evacuate the colorless, odorless radioactive gas from the home through a ventilation system. It’s meant as a precaution even if no radon is detected. Supervisor Chuck Rieken said smaller test kits are also available at most hardware stores. After a few days of monitoring, the kit is sent to a company that evaluates the results.
Schelling said if the initial test show there is no problem with radon, installation of the more expensive equipment to remove it, is not necessary. Rieken said the need for radon testing arises because it is a carcinogen that can cause cancer.
The average national indoor radon level is 1.3 picocuries (peek-oh-cure’ees) per liter of air (pCi/L). Information from http://ia-radon.info/ lists the level of radon typically found for each county in Iowa. In Cass County, the average indoor radon levels as determined by radon test results from Air Chek, Inc, is 8.5 pCi/L.
Sixty-eight percent (68%) of the homes tested in Cass County showed levels above 4 pCi/l, 17-percent were between two and 3.9 pCi/L, while two-percent were under 2 pCi/L. The US EPA has set an action level of 4 pCi/L. At or above that level of radon, the EPA recommends you take corrective measures to reduce your exposure to radon gas.