Odor Problem at Northport School May Have Been Identified

A new inspection of the HVAC units blamed for smells at Northport Middle School has found two problems, the Northport school district has told residents.

In a letter dated Tuesday, Superintendent Robert Banzer said that a representative of Carrier, the HVAC manufacturer, accompanied by district personnel, the school principal, a board trustee and the superntendent, re-inspected the rooms and the rooftop HVAC units in G and K wings. The representative found two potential problems, Banzer’s letter says:

  1. 1.There are “drip plates” inside the rooftop HVAC units that have developed slight build-up of matter. He suggested we clean those.

  2. 2. He noted that the condensate pipe that runs from the rooftop unit to the roof has a trap. The trap is not deep enough, per the manufacturer’s specifications.

Banzer said the following steps have been taken to resolve the odor problem:

  • Oct. 16: External inspection of the HVAC system by the district’s maintenance team and project manager. The inspection did not reveal any abnormalities.
  • Oct. 22: Internal inspection of the HVAC system by Cunningham Air Duct Cleaning. The inspection revealed the air ducts were clean.
  • Oct. 23: The district’s environmental consulting firm, J.C. Broderick and Associates, conducted air quality testing within the building to detect any presence of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Carbon Monoxide, Total Airborne Particulates and Mold in Air. The testing did not identify the presence of any indoor air quality conditions that would prohibit classrooms being occupied by students and staff.
  • Oct. 25: Carrier, the HVAC manufacturer, sampled and visually inspected one unit. They did not identify any issues.

As of Tuesday, there have been no reported odors since Wednesday, Oct. 23, Banzer said.

“Please be assured that we will replace the traps and clean the drip plates within the next several days,” Banzer said. “As a further precaution, we will be replacing the current air filters with carbon filters, per Carrier’s recommendations. Carbon filters are recommended to do a better job at filtration.  As soon as these measures are in place, we will update the school community once again.

“Thank you for your patience and will continue to communicate any important information with you.  For more information about Northport Middle School please click here.” Banzer wrote.


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