Concern: Northfield Elementary School: June 7th, 2019 (CXXNES20190000E1)

Second Grade Area, Especially Room C21
Date of IEQ Report Form
Date of Report
On May 21, 2019, the school reported an odor in the second grade area, especially room C21.
IEQ Investigation Process

Identify deficiencies that may impact IEQ and/or sources of odor concerns. Typically includes the following depending on the nature of concern, but not limited to:

  • interview/questionnaire of concern individual(s)
  • inspection above drop ceiling (condition of roof deck, pipe insulation, return air plenum)
  • inspection of ventilation system (operation of variable air volume box and outdoor air dampers, check controls, measurements of carbon dioxide, temperature and relative humidity, sources near outdoor air intake, measure return and supply air volume, cleanliness of coils, liner and condensate pan)
  • inspection of exterior
  • inspection below drop ceiling (housekeeping, sink and floor drain traps, signs of past and present moisture concern via visual and/or moisture meter, mold growth, ensure connection of current and capping of abandoned sanitary vents, odorizers, excessive plants and fabric items, identify potential pathways, and measure volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, and lighting)

Date(s) of Assessment:  May 24, 29, and June 7, 2019.

No odors were detected when walking the school on May 24 (~5:15 a.m.).  

On May 29 (~7:45 a.m.), a slight rusty, mechanical like aroma could be detected in the second grade hall between the two mechanical closets housing ventilation equipment. The aroma was a bit stronger upon entering the closet beside room C21.

An odor was not detected on June 7 (~6:40 a.m.).

The dedicated outdoor air ventilation roof top unit #10 was not operating.

The closets house independent ventilation units, each serving an individual classroom.  These units produce condensate when cooling the air.  The condensate flows into a pan then into a pump.  The pump forces the condensate up vertical and horizontal piping.  The condensate line appeared dried out thus allowing odors to back flow.  The closet also serves as a return air duct for the units.  Thus any odor within the closet will be drawn into the units and dispersed within the classroom's air supply.

Corrective Actions
May 29th, 2019

The Office of Environment primed condensate lines and/or traps by pouring water into all four closet ventilation units' condensate pumps and within roof top unit #10's internal condensate drains.

May 29th, 2019

A work order was created to have Building Services HVAC Shop evaluate and correct dedicated outdoor air roof top unit 10.

June 7th, 2019

If random / periodic odors resembling this concern are experienced, contact Building Services to pour water into condensate lines of the ventilation units housed in closets within the school.  Building Services may be able to show school custodial staff how to perform this task. 

Tracking Number