The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has completed its inspection of the Hancock Elementary School and submitted its final report to HCSD Superintendent Terry Dougherty.
Members of NYSDOH’s Bureau of Toxic Substance Assessment and its District office in Oneonta toured Hancock Elementary School on November 1, 2022. During their visit they meet with HCSD administrators, staff, faculty and inspected nine independent locations throughout the elementary school.
NYSDOH findings include:
- No odors detected in eight of the locations inspected,
- No remaining wastewater or obvious concerns in the crawl space where the sewage leak originated,
- A “slight musty smell” in the gym storage area likely created by rainy conditions,
- No increase of recorded events to the school nurse from September 19 – September 30 when odors were first reported and investigated,
- No increase of recorded events to the school nurse from October 11 – October 27 after students, faculty and staff returned to the elementary school following extensive remediation and air quality testing.
The NYSDOH inspection follows a preliminary review conducted by HCSD’s environmental engineer and consultant, who recommended the district install dehumidifiers, lights, air monitoring equipment and air filters to help remove odors from the crawl space. Additionally, the district hired a professional cleaning service (SERVPRO) to thoroughly clean the crawl space and apply an EPA-approved disinfectant that kills bacteria, viruses and mold, and prevents mold growth. On October 31 a New York State Department of Labor Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau (PESH) report concluded that there were no air quality issues at the school, no strange odors or visible mold detected, and that a possible air contaminant source could not be found. The full PESH report can be viewed on the HCSD website, www.hancock.stier.org
Dr. Dougherty thanked the community for its ongoing support and publicly presented a full after-action review of this incident and the district’s successful remediation at the November 14 HCSD Board of Education meeting.